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B. S. Padmanabhan 






Published by 

Vigyan Prasar 

50, Institutional Area, Sector 62, 

Noida 201 307 (UP) 

(Regd. office: Technology Bhawan, New Delhi - 1 10016) 

Phones: 0120-2404430-35 


E- mail: in 

Internet: http//www. in 

Vigyan Rail 

Science Exhibition on Wheels 

Copyright: © 2006 by Vigyan Prasar 
All rights reserved 

Overall Supervision: Rintu Nath 

Page layout/Typesetting: InoSoft Systems 

ISBN: 8 1-7480-093-X 

Rs. 250 

Printed in India by Saurabh Printers, B-280, Okhla Industrial Area, Phase 1, 
New Delhi — 110 020 


Preface v 

Foreword vn 

Overview 1 

The Exhibits 

The Journey 35 

The Impact 67 

Epilogue 75 

Participating Ministries/Departments 78 

List of Advertisers 79 

Itinerary 80 

Route Map 82 

List of Nodal Officers 


Vigyan Rail -Science Exhibition on Wheels logo. 


Thanks to the vision of our first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the keen interest taken by 
successive Governments, a strong foundation has been laid through a network of national 
laboratories and scientific Departments/ Ministries to promote scientific research and 
technological developments over the last five decades since Independence. As a result, India has 
made significant strides in R&D in different disciplines. 

Our achievements in Science and Technology since Independence have been remarkable, 
covering a wide range of disciplines, from space to ocean depths and from nuclear to renewable 
energy, among others. All these have helped to bring about a visible improvement in the quality 
of life of the people as manifested by the expansion of communication facilities, penetration of 
telephones in rural areas, increased food production, prevention of diseases, enhancement of the 
military strength of the country, reduction in dependence on imports of essential drugs, and so 

However, public awareness of these achievements has been found wanting. It was in this 
context that Vigyan Prasar, an autonomous organisation was set up by the Department of 
Science and Technology, Government of India. The aim was to disseminate information on our 
accomplishments in S&T among the general public, and inculcate scientific temper among them. 

As one of its initiatives in this direction, Vigyan Prasar organized the Vigyan Rail - Science 
Exhibition on Wheels. It displayed exhibits put up by various Scientific Departments and agencies 
not only highlighting our achievements in Science and Technology since Independence, but also 
our scientific heritage. 

Vigyan Rail travelled throughout the country attracting thousands of visitors from different 
strata of society wherever it halted. The exhibition halted at 60 railway stations over a period 
of eight months during the period 15 December 2003 to 20 August 2004. From all accounts, it 
made a deep impact on the visitors especially among the students in the remote parts of the 
country, who for the first time had access to a treasure of information and knowledge under one 
roof and near their homes. 


This Pictorial Album records the cross-country journey of the Vigyan Rail highlighting the 
various exhibits and the response it evoked among the public. It is hoped that this would benefit 
those who could not visit the Vigyan Rail. 

I feel privileged to be associated with this initiative and would like to place on record the 
support extended to me by Dr. V.B. Kamble, Director, Vigyan Prasar and his colleagues, especially 
Dr. Subodh Mahanti and Shri Rintu Nath. 

New Delhi 

Date 28 February 2006 



Railways have played an important role in the social and economic development of the country 
for over one and a half centuries, besides being a means of communication and transportation. 
A powerful network like the Railways could be effectively utilized for a direct contact with the 
people with an aim to spread scientific awareness and help them develop a scientific outlook. This 
was the thought which prompted Shri M. V. Kamath, President, Vigyan Prasar Society to ask a 
question in one of its General Body Meetings: “Can we have a train moving throughout the 
country carrying an exhibition depicting the achievements of the country in different fields of 
Science and Technology?” Well, the idea, strongly supported by Dr. Murli Manohar joshi, the 
then Minister of Science and Technology, Human Resource Development, and Ocean Development; 
and Shri Nitish Kumar, the then Minister of Railways, culminated into “Vigyan Rail - Science 
Exhibition on Wheels”, a prestigious project conceived, formulated and implemented by Vigyan 
Prasar jointly with the Ministry of Railways, and with active support from the Department of 
Science and Technology (DST) - in particular Professor V. S. Ramamurthy, Secretary, DST and 
Chairman, Governing Body, Vigyan Prasar; and Shri R. K. Singh, Chairman, Railway Board. 

The project was undertaken with the active participation of Departments and Ministries of 
Government of India engaged in fields related to Science and Technology. Vigyan Prasar prepared 
a detailed project report with inputs from Ministry of Railways. The response of the participating 
Departments and Ministries - eighteen in all - was truly overwhelming. Vigyan Rail carried 
exhibits and activities depicting India’s achievements in various fields of Science and Technology 
with emphasis on the achievements in the post-Independence period. 

Vigyan Rail - Science Exhibition on Wheels was flagged off by Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the 
then Prime Minister of India, on 15 December 2003 from Delhi Safdarjung Railway Station. 
During its entire journey, Vigyan Rail - Science Exhibition on Wheels helped people become 
aware about how science and technology have helped our country of a billion plus take giant 
strides on its way to self reliance in the fields of agriculture and food production, medicines and 
pharmaceuticals, defence, space, and how India is on a fast track to becoming a super power in 
the field of Information Technology. At the same time, the exhibition focused on the arduous path 
and the determined efforts of our scientists who made it possible and immensely contributed to 
the social and economic growth of the country. In this sense Vigyan Rail - Science Exhibition on 
Wheels was the saga of Indian Science - from the early Vedic period till the modern times. Visit 
to the Vigyan Rail helped expose our younger generation - especially the school children - to the 
thrill, challenges and opportunities a scientific career offers. 


<J3 Foreword 

I he epic journey of Vigyan Rail that lasted over eight months ended on August 2004. After 
visiting 60 destinations throughout the country covering 15,000 kilometres, it finally chugged 
into Delhi Safdarjung railway station in August 16, 2004 from where it had steamed out on 
December 15, 2003. At every place it visited, from Rajkot to Tinsukia and Pathankot to 
Kanyakumari, it received a thunderous welcome. An estimated five million people visited the 
Science Exhibition on Wheels during this period. Indeed, this was a historic event for the country 
in the field of science communication - perhaps in the world. 

Surely, Vigyan Rail was a unique experiment, and it has proved how people crave for information 
and knowledge about science and technology they use everyday or the environment they live in. 
This was more conspicuous amongst children. The children always outnumbered the grown ups. 
It became almost a regular phenomenon to find them take down notes assiduously in each coach, 
either out of their own interest, or because it was an assignment from their science teacher. 
Vigyan Rail, along with an element of novelty, offered a unique opportunity for access to 
information in countryside. Vigyan Rail was once again on track in 2005 for three months and 
travelled to places it could not cover in its first phase under the aegis of National Council for 
Science and Technology Communication. 

Vigyan Rail created ripples in several countries. There were requests from France for information 
on Vigyan Rail. A scientific delegation from Argentina visited Vigyan Rail in Delhi. A member 
of the delegation expressed, “If we are carrying something back to our country, it is the concept 
of Vigyan Rail!” A member of the American Embassy who visited the train exclaimed, “Now I 
want to have a science train in California, my home State!” 

The guidance and cooperation by the Ministry of Railways was exemplary. In particular I 
would like to mention Shri Sandeep Silas, Director, Information and Publicity, Railway Board, 
and his wonderful colleagues. The enthusiasm of the participating Ministries/Departments was 

With a view to reach a larger section of the society, Vigyan Prasar has brought out a DVD and 
a four- part film on Vigyan Rail. In the present book, lavishly illustrated, we have attempted to 
document the entire journey of Vigyan Rail ever since it was a mere dream to its realization. This 
journey has been lucidly narrated by the well known science journalist Shri B. S. Padmanabhan. 
We are thankful to him for readily agreeing to pen the saga. We are also thankful to Shri Biman 
Basu, Former Editor, Science Reporter, for going through the manuscript and suggestions for its 

Vinay B. Ramble 
Vigyan Prasar 



For over 150 years the vast network of In- 
dian Railways has been bringing people 
from different parts of the country closer, 
thereby promoting cultural integration and 
economic development. For the first time in 
2004 this network was utilized to bring 
people and science closer by showcasing on 
wheels, and taking to the doorsteps of the 
people, the country’s scientific and techno- 
logical heritage and progress over the years, 

The initiative for this unique project, 
christened Vigyan Rail, was taken by Vigyan 
Prasar, an autonomous body under the De- 
partment of Science and Technology with 
active participation and support from 18 
scientific departments and agencies of the 
Government of India. The main objective 
was to generate awareness among the 
people about the contribution made by sci- 
ence and technology to the giant strides 
taken by the country in different sectors 
since Independence. 

From all accounts the eight-month jour- 
ney of this Science Exhibition on Wheels 
over 15,000 kilometres, covering 60 rail- 
way stations, had been quite fruitful in 
achieving its objective. Not only that, it had 
helped in re-kindling the declining interest 
among the younger generation in science, 
as manifested by the fall in recent years in 
the number of students seeking admission 

to science streams in schools and colleges, 
which has been a cause for concern. 

This re-kindling of interest in favour of 
science is no mean achievement consider- 
ing that no nation can survive in the present 
era of globalization, economic liberaliza- 
tion and rapid advances in technology un- 
less it becomes economically competitive 
and technologically powerful. This in turn 
calls for a paradigm shift in the mindset of 
the people in favour of science and technol- 

How can one promote scientific outlook 
among the public? This question has been 
agitating the minds of policy makers and 
programme administrators for quite some 
time. The Vigyan Prasar, set up for this very 
purpose, has been taking a number of initia- 
tives towards this goal, Rut an idea mooted 
at a meeting of the Vigyan Prasar Society 
by its President, Shri M, V. Kamath clicked. 
“Can we have a train moving throughout 
the country carrying an exhibition depict- 
ing the achievements of the country in dif- 
ferent fields of science and technology?” 
queried Shri Kamath, a distinguished jour- 
nalist, “Why not?” was the immediate re- 
sponse from all those present at the meeting, 
This is not surprising because the railways 
touch far-flung areas and the sight and sound 
of a train are always keenly awaited in the 

03 VigyanRail iO 

countryside. What better means could there 
be to take science to the masses than a train ? 

Soon the idea got the nod from the then 
Minister for Human Resource Development 
Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, who was in charge 
of the Ministry of Science and Technology 
and from Shri Nitish Kumar, who was then 
Minister for Railways. It did not take much 
time for the idea to blossom into a viable 
project, regarded as the first of its kind in 
the world. 

Only a few months earlier an Exhibition 
on Wheels, depicting the 150 years of ser- 
vice of Indian Railways (1853-2003), had 
completed its journey throughout the coun- 
try and returned to the base in Delhi. Thus 
the rolling stock was ready and it only 
needed to be refurbished for another Exhi- 
bition on Wheels, but on a different theme. 
The authorities of Vigyan Prasar swung into 
action, backed by the Department of Sci- 
ence and Technology and the Ministry of 
Railways. All the departments and agen- 
cies having an element of science and tech- 
nology under their charge actively 

It was felt that each coach should focus 
on a particular theme and the refurbishing 
of the train called for certain amount of 
creativity and imagination to ensure that 
the interior decoration and arrangement of 
the exhibits were in harmony and synergy 
with the theme sought to be projected. The 
participating Ministries/Departments and 
organizations planned the designs to suit 
the theme and the Railway Ministry, which 
had gained sufficient experience and exper- 
tise in running an Exhibition Train, took 
charge of preparing the train for this Sci- 
ence Exhibition on Wheels. In a short span 
of a few months the fabrication was com- 

pleted at the Safdarjung Railway Station in 
Delhi and the train with 12 coaches, inter- 
connected with each other, was ready with 
attractive models, charts, panels and au- 
dio-visual aids in each coach. In addition 
there were five coaches to accommodate 
the operating and support staff. 

The journey began from, and concluded 
at, Safdarjung Railway Station in Delhi. The 
same route, which the Railways took for its 
Exhibition on Wheels in 2003, was chosen 
for this Science Exhibition on Wheels also. 
The reason is not far to seek. It was felt that 
from the operational point of view it would 
be better to follow the route already taken 
by a similar train. This marked the launch 
of a project, whose uniqueness lay in the 
fact that for the first time an opportunity 
was provided to the people in remote cor- 
ners of the country to have a glimpse of the 
nation’s progress in the field of science and 

The train was flagged off by the then 
Prime Minister Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee 
on December 15, 2003 but it actually left a 
week later giving an opportunity for the 
Delhiites to have a glimpse of the exhibits. 
It returned on August 16, 2004 to the same 
station and remained there for five days. 
The concluding function was held on Au- 
gust 1 8, 2004 with Shri Kapil Sibal, Minis- 
ter of State (Independent Charge) of Science 
and Technology and Ocean Development 
as the Chief Guest. 

During its journey, the exhibition at- 
tracted over 5 million visitors. It was win- 
ter when the train covered the northern 
States and summer when it moved down 
south. But braving the cold and the heat the 
visitors came not only from the town where 
the railway station was located but also from 

03 Overview 

Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi, the then Minister (HRD, S&T and Ocean Development) 
explaining the logo. Also seen is the then Minister of State (S&T), Shri Bachi Singh 

03 Vigyan Rail £0 

Assessing the progress of Science Exhibition on Wheels (From L to R): Shri Bachi 
Singh Rawat, the then Minister of State (S&T), Shri R. K. Singh, the then Chairman, 
Railway Board, Shri M. V. Kamath, President, Vigyan Prasar Society and 
Professor V. S. Ramamurthy, Secretary, DST. 


the surrounding areas. They were from 
different strata of society in different age 
groups and with different educational back- 
grounds. But there was no difference in the 
level of knowledge they derived from the 
visit. The intention was to reach the com- 
mon man and that was achieved beyond 
expectations. The visitors did not just move 
along from one coach to the other but made 
incisive inquiries about the exhibits. They 
were keen to understand the contribution 
made by science and technology in diverse 
fields. Some took photographs of the 

As many as 1 8 scientific departments and 
agencies of the government displayed ex- 
hibits covering a wide spectrum ranging 
from agriculture to atomic energy and from 
ocean depths to the space. The exhibits 
traced the development of Indian science 
and technology from the days of Aryabhatta 
to the present era of the chip, which led to 
a revolution in Information Technology and 
brought countries closer at the global level 
and the rural and urban areas closer at the 
national level. 

For the first time the people in the remot- 
est areas came to know how science and 
technology helped in achieving self-suffi- 
ciency in food, wiping out diseases like small 
pox, etc., reducing dependence on imports 
in a range of commodities, improving con- 
nectivity through satellites and telecommu- 
nications, probing the ocean depths, meeting 
the energy needs of the growing popula- 
tion, etc. Not only that, the visitors also had 
a glimpse of what is in store in the future. 

The media coverage and the response of 
the visitors bear testimony to the success of 
this first-ever venture of this kind in the 
history of Indian science and technology. 

“ If your child asks too many questions about 
science and is curious to know why the 
environment is in danger or what green 
revolution is, and if you don’t know the 
answers, don’t get disheartened. Just take 
him to Charbagh Railway Station, where 
an exhibition on Vigyan Rail will satisfy the 
craving for information of your child ” . This 
comment in the Lucknow edition of the 
Hindustan Times is typical of the general 
perception about the Vigyan Rail. The me- 
dia described it as a “unique mission” and 
an “eye-opener” and observed that “the ex- 
hibition goes beyond textbooks”. 

Two other comments from spectators sum 
up neatly the common man’s perception of 
the Vigyan Rail. One wrote, “Yeh 
Pradarshani to gagar mein sagar hai” (In 
this exhibition the entire ocean has been 
accommodated in a pitcher.); and another 
commented, “Kuan khud cbalkar pyase ke 
pas ay a hai” (The well itself has come to the 
thirsty.). It may be impossible to bring the 
ocean in a bucket or to take the well to the 
thirsty. But this exhibition has made it pos- 
sible to bring a wealth of information in a 
capsule form in a train and take it to the 
people thirsting for knowledge. 

Though the response to the exhibition 
was overwhelming, there were certain limi- 
tations. The period of stay at each station 
was 2-5 days and this was found to be too 
short to accommodate the large number of 
interested spectators. The result was long 
queues at every halt. The timing was from 
10 a. m. to 7 p.m. but at some halts the rush 
was such that the exhibition had to be kept 
open till late in the night. In a multi-lingual 
nation like ours the visitors expected the 
exhibits to be in their respective languages 
and not just in English or Hindi. This is 

03 Vigyan Rail SO 

understandable, as they would be able to 
appreciate the exhibits better if these were 
in their own respective languages. But it is 
not feasible to have the panels in all the 
regional languages. So the organizers had 
arranged for volunteers to explain the ex- 
hibits to the visitors in the local language. 
In addition to experts from the participat- 
ing Ministries/Departments and organiza- 
tions, volunteers with background in science 
were chosen locally and briefed about the 

exhibits so that they in turn could explain 
them to the visitors in the local language. 
However, in some places the number of such 
volunteers was not adequate to satisfy the 

Notwithstanding these, the overall expe- 
rience gained by Vigyan Prasar and the 
participating government departments and 
agencies has been quite positive and encour- 


The Vigyan Rail was designed in such a 
way that visitors could enter the first coach 
and move on to the last coach without hav- 
ing to get down at any stage, as all the 
coaches were interconnected. Starting with 
the nation’s scientific heritage the exhibits 
portrayed the progress in diverse areas 
concerning national security, energy secu- 
rity, agriculture, health, communication, in- 
formation technology, space, and so on. 

|flH Our Scientific Heritage 

National Council of Science Museums, 
Department of Culture 

As one entered the first coach, panels de- 
picting the nation’s heritage in S & T and 
the contributions of eminent Indian scien- 
tists who had earned laurels at the national 
and international levels, and the modern 
shape of things greeted the visitor. Put up by 
the National Council of Science Museums, 
which is under the Department of Culture 
in the Central Government, the exhibits 
were primarily panel-based, supplemented 
by hands-on participatory exhibits, com- 
puter-interactive panels and video shows. 

The panels portrayed the skills in math- 
ematics, geometry, physical science, as- 
tronomy, medicine and metallurgy, which 
our ancestors had possessed and passed on 

Surgical instruments used in the past resembling heads of 
different birds and animals 

Explaining the 



0*5 Vigyan Rail £0 

Explaining the 
concept of it (pi) 

Display, which 
takes the visitors 
through 4,500 
years of Indian 
history of science 
and technology. 

to successive generations. Exhibits on 
Aryabhatta’s work, Triguna, Sulba-sutra, 
Circle and its Diameter, Zero and the con- 
cept of 7t (pi) added a special dimension to 
the display. A computer interactive exhibit 
took the visitor through 4,500 years of In- 
dian science and technology. Exhibits of 
surgical instruments, which were commonly 
used in the past, brought out the ancient 
skill India possessed in the field of surgery. 
The heads of these instruments resembled 
the heads of different animals and the ex- 
hibits were re-created from the Susruta text 
of the 2 nd century AD. The accompanying 
panels quizzed the visitors to identify the 

The rise of modern Indian science had its 
roots in the 19 th century and scientists like 
J.C. Bose, S. Ramanujan, P.C. Ray, C.V. 
Raman, M.N. Saha, S.N. Bose, P.C. 
Mahalanobis, S Chandrasekhar, Homi 
Bhabha, Birbal Sahni and Vikram Sarabhai, 
who had made significant contributions to 
the world of science in the 20 th century. 
Besides their portraits, interesting informa- 
tion connected with their lives and works 
were on display. For example the photo- 
graph of the house in which S. Ramanujan 
was born and the Nobel Diploma Certifi- 
cate received by C.V. Raman were among 
the exhibits. There was a panel exclusively 
devoted to women scientists, which sought 
to kindle the interest of young girls in pur- 
suing a career in science. A video show 
based on interviews with women scientists 
was an added attraction. 

The Exhibits £« 




Environment: Conservation 
and Sustainable Development 

Ministry of Environment and Forests 

After the nostalgia of the hoary past the 
visitors had a feel of the present day reali- 
ties in the second coach wherein the exhib- 
its highlighted the rich bio-diversity of our 
country and the importance of conserving 
it in order to ensure sustainable economic 
development. The panels put up by the 
Ministry of Environment & Forests sought 
to bring out the relationship of man with 
nature. Starting with the necessity of sus- 
tainable development the panels in this coach 
pictorially depicted the manner in which 
trees were protected in the past. One of the 
panels recalled the Indian tradition of na- 
ture conservation dating back to the Vedic 
period, which had continued throughout 
history. Emperor Ashoka’s edicts, Babar' 
nama, Jehangir’s memoirs, and the Bishnoi’s 
sacrifice were highlighted as symbolic of 
conservation ethos enshrined in the Indian 
psyche. The same ethos continued now in 
the form of Chipko movement and Appiko 
movement. Besides depicting the benefits 
accrued from a tree, the exhibits also de- 
picted nature conservation efforts by Gov- 
ernments, NGOs and the community at 
large, through schemes like National Green 
Corps and Joint Forest Management, to in- 
dicate how the traditional practices were 
being continued. 

The visitors also got an idea of what bio- 
diversity meant and the status of India in 
the global context. The variety of plants, 
animals and microorganism in any life sup- 
porting system represented the bio-diver- 
sity of a nation. The panels highlighted the 
fact that India, with 1,28,000 species of 

Exhibit depicting the Indian tradition of environmental 
conservation -the Bishnoi community in Rajasthan protecting 
the trees sacrificing their own life 

Panel illustrating the Water Cycle — the endless circulation of 
water between oceans, atmosphere and land 

’5 cv*®® 

^TfcTrl t\ 



cITT? T 
q qjsfi ^ 

TcfcEcf ^ ^ 

The endless circulation of water 
between oceans, atmosphere and 

land is called the Water Cycle. The 
cycle is mainly goverened by 

solar energy, gravity of earth, 
precipitation in the form of rain 
tall or snow beside evaporation 
and transpiration from open land 
masses and plants. 


04 Vigyan Rail KJ 

plants and animals, had been recognized as 
one of the 1 2 mega Bio-diversity Centres in 
the world. Of these, animal species ac- 
counted for 81,000, which was 6.5% of the 
global number and the remaining 47,000 
were plant species, representing 7% of the 
global number. Also highlighted were the 
diversity in flowers, orchids and insects. 
Anyone viewing these panels would agree 
that the country should not lose this gift of 
nature by indiscriminate destruction of for- 
ests and wildlife. The panels highlighting 
the elements constituting the environment 
and the need to preserve them only strength- 
ened this feeling. What was expected of the 
citizen to do and not to do in order to pre- 
serve nature was also detailed in one of the 
panels. The exhibits emphasized the point 
that development goals should be achieved 
without harming nature and that only by 
conserving natural resources could one en- 
sure sustainable development. 

Exhibit displaying the imbalance in nature brought about by 
human activities 

Some of the panels explained the Water 
Cycle and highlighted the threats posed by 
the pollution of atmosphere and water bod- 
ies. They also detailed the ways and means 
of tackling both air and water pollution. In 
this context one of the panels brought out 
how in the wake of the Green Revolution 
the increased use of pesticides and insecti- 
cides had resulted in pollution, which had 
become a cause for concern. There was also 
an interesting panel on different varieties 
of grasses, which served as sources of food 
for humans and fodder for animals. 

The Exhibits EO 




Progress in Nuclear Science 

Department of Atomic Energy 

Sustainable development called for use of 
clean energy, which did not pollute the at- 
mosphere, and nuclear energy fitted the bill 
in this respect. India recognized this soon 
after Independence when the ambitious 
atomic energy programme was launched. 
Thanks to the vision of the first Prime Min- 
ister Jawaharlal Nehru and the contribu- 
tion of scientists like Homi Bhabha, the 
country’s atomic energy programme had 
made significant strides over the last five 
decades. In fact, within a decade of the 
launch of this programme India became one 
of the first 10 most advanced countries in 
the area of nuclear technology. The exhibits 
depicted the story of the nation’s efforts to 
tap nuclear energy not only for generation 
of power but also for other uses like medical 
diagnosis and treatment, and crop improve- 
ment by the Department of Atomic Energy 
(DAE), which had recently completed 50 
years of service. 

Atomic minerals 
mined from 
different states 

The DAE is a broad-based multidisci- 
plinary organisation engaged in basic and 
applied research, and development of tech- 
nology and its applications in industry. Its 
mandate is the production of safe and eco- 
nomical nuclear power from indigenous 
uranium and thorium resources. It builds and 
operates research reactors for the produc- 
tion of radioisotopes and carries out 
programmes on isotope and radiation tech- 
nology and its applications in the fields of 
medicine, agriculture and industry. It also 
supports basic research in nuclear energy 
and related frontier areas of science, inter- 
acting with universities and academic insti- 

C25 VigyanRail EO 

The use of 
radiation in 
(top) and 
(bottom) for 
treatment of 

of nuclear 
fission (top) and 

Divided into six sections, the exhibits of 
DAE highlighted the range of activities it 
had been undertaking. Starting with the birth 
and the mandate of the DAE, the first sec- 
tion provided the visitor basic information 
on the structure of the atom, isotopes, ra- 
diation, and nuclear fission and fusion. Ex- 
hibits on harnessing nuclear fission for 
generation of electricity highlighted the 
nuclear power programme and the safety 
aspects related to nuclear power stations. 
Following this there were exhibits on re- 
search reactors, production of radioisotopes 
and their applications in healthcare, espe- 
cially diagnosis and treatment of cancer and 
other diseases. Other exhibits highlighted 
the applications of radioisotopes in agricul- 
ture and food preservation. The next sec- 
tion displayed the work on applications of 
radioisotopes in industry and hydrology and 
the activities in the area of desalination. 
The last section was devoted to advanced 
technologies like accelerators, lasers and 
supercomputers and to the work of DAE in 
providing eco-friendly technologies for pre- 
serving the environment. 

There were panels explaining the tech- 
niques of radionuclide imaging (RNI) using 
gamma camera, radioimmunoassay (RIA), 
teletherapy with a radiation source and 
brachytherapy deployed in the treatment 
of malignant growths. The DAE’s efforts to 
develop teletherapy machines based on 
gamma rays and electron accelerators were 
highlighted. The penetrating power of Al- 
pha, Beta and Gamma rays was portrayed 
in one of the panels. Pictures of the Cirus 
and Dhruva reactors and nuclear power 
plants, besides the indigenously developed 
Fast Breeder Test Reactor at Kalpakkam, 
and the 500 MWe prototype Fast Breeder 
Reactor under construction at Kalpakkam 

Ite Exttnfoitte 


attracted Ac visitors- One of Ac exhibits 
apprised Ac visitors of Ac various stages of 
processing — from m riming rill production off 
power — Armagh which Ac nuclear fuel 

The DAE panels also sought to depict Ac 
effect off radiation from nuclear pllairats in 
the connect perspective- One of the panels 
on Ac composition of Ac total radiation 
exposure of Ac population hi ghlig hted the 
fact that 67.6% off total radiation exposure 
of the popoalation came from natuaral back- 
ground, 3(GL7% from medical radiation, and 
only 0.15 per cent from noaelear industry- 
TTtae steps taken to preserve the en vkonment 
around noadear insttalations were explained 
in one of Ae exhibks- 

Application of radioisotopes in protect- 
ing coastal environment, Ae iso-coaant con- 
ton rs of a radiotracer investigation at 
Colaha Ontfall off Mnrnhai coast, radia- 
tion sterilization plant, radiation sterilization 
kits for use by traAtional birA attendants 
called dLzis, blood irradiator, application of 
nmclear science in agriculture to develop 
improved mutant varieties of Afferent crops 
using gamma radiation, tissoe cnltnre and 
radiation processing of food products were 
highligihteo - 


developed by 

radiation source 
/ndws#(top); dye 
laser (bottom } 

Tissue culture 
production of 
banana multiple 
shoots in liquid 
nutrient medium 

pheromones for 
I insect control 
developed by 
DAE (middle): 
ladybird beetles 
| being used for 
I pest control 
! (bottom) 


04 Vigyan Rail hO 

Panels highlighting the achievements of Department of 
Information Technology. 

The new age 
of technology 
for tele- 



Strides in ICT 

Ministry of Communication and Information 

While nuclear science held the centre-stage 
in the middle of the 20 rh century, the last 
two decades of the 20 th century witnessed 
significant advances in information and 
communication technologies (ICT) around 
the world. These have brought the nations 
in the world and the cities within a nation 
closer. Not one to lag behind, India has taken 
a number of initiatives to make the country 
an ICT superpower. This is not surprising 
because India has trained manpower and a 
long history in the field of communication 
dating back to 1 850 when the first electric 
telegraph line was commissioned between 
Calcutta (now Kolkata) and Diamond 
Harbour. Since then the telecom revolution 
has continued unabated, connecting the 
teeming millions with different means of 
communication-telegraph, telephone, wire- 
less radio, and now computers and Internet. 
The fascinating story of the telecom jour- 
ney and information revolution was por- 
trayed jointly by the Centre for 
Development in Telematics (C-DOT), De- 
partment of Telecommunications (DoT) and 
the Department of Information Technology 
(DIT), both under the Ministry of Commu- 
nication & Information Technology. 

The DoT exhibits traced the history of 
communication from the primitive days 
when messages were sent from one place to 
another through marathon runners. Subse- 
quently, horse-riders and pigeons were used 
to send messages. Then came the fire sig- 
nals used in the Greek and Roman empires 
during wars, and torch telegraph. The dawn 
of instant communication came with the 

OeJ The Exhibits lO 


invention of Morse telegraphy followed by 
the invention of telephone by Alexander 
Graham Bell, and of radio by Marconi. The 
last few decades of the 20 th century wit- 
nessed further developments in the form of 
communication satellite, fibre optic cables, 
cellular telephone, and Internet. Besides 
highlighting all these milestones in the evo- 
lution of telecommunications the exhibits 
by DoT also portrayed the steps taken in 
India by the government and public sector 
enterprises like BSNL, MTNL and TCIL to 
harness the latest in communication tech- 
nology and bring about nationwide connec- 
tivity. Photographs of vintage telephone 
instruments and diagrams of string tele- 
phony provided an added attraction. 

The panels put up by DIT sought to project 
the steps taken to make the country a super- 
power in the sphere of Information &c Com- 
munication Technology. The products 
developed by Centre for Development of 
Advanced Computing (C-DAC), including 
supercomputer, multi-lingual office automa- 
tion solutions, digital library solutions, and 
integrated telemedicine solutions brand- 
named Mercury, were displayed in these 
panels. The initiatives taken to make India 
a global destination for R&D and promote 
e-governance were also highlighted by the 
DIT. The exhibits included a map explain- 
ing the level of connectivity achieved 
through the NICNET and a panel detailing 
the socio-economic benefits resulting from 
the advances in ICT. 

Vintage telephones (top); a general view of the Ministry of 
Communication and Information Technology display (bottom). 

Now you are entering 

Vig^arr Ra*l <£rJ> 

Pltootograpffrs off 
Nangal Barrage 
aimdl Bhmtgauda 

Panel on top 
recharge of 
ground water 
and panel at the 
bottom explains 
roof top rain 

Water Resources and 
Ocean Development 

Minjstry of Water Resources and 
Department of Ocean Development 

As ©line mwed to* the - next counrh ©me g,ot am 
idea ©»if Ae pottemtial ©>f water to nmeett the 
grown nag ennetgy needs of tine conantay. Tine 
panels punt imp by trine Central Water Conm- 
mmission jCWC)) and tine Department of 
Ocean Development (( DoD)) highlighted the 
steps, talk™ to tap the rich water resonances 
of the country avail Da We inn trhe rivers and 
the oce aim. Pktninres offNangal r Bhiangauada* 
Farakka T atnd Kosi barrages* Indira Gaandhi 
Nahar Project* Gandhisagat Daan r Idnakki 
Project* aund Hiraknad project attracted the 
visitors.. The initiatives taken to promote 
groun andwater recharging a and rainwater 
harvesting were depicted thronagh pictnares 
©)ff artificial recharge of gronndwater inn 
Rashtnrapatti Bhawaan aand rooftop rainwa- 
ter harvestriang nan Shraann Shakti Bhawaan T ian 
which the Uanioan Labonar aand Power Minis- 
tries are located inn New Delhi. The 
Rashtrapatri Bhawaan project helped to re- 
charge 2$0 lakh litres aand the water level 
had risean bj 4 ametres. Ann irrigatrioan amap 
exhibited here helped the visitor ian naander- 
standing the potential aand the extent of 
exploitation off water resonances for irriga- 
trionn aand driankiang water snapply ian ontr conaan- 

The paanels pnat nap by DoD so>naght to high - 
light the aeso)narces lying under the oceaan 
aand the efforts to tap them. Pictaares of or- 
namental fishes* polymetallic anodiiales aand 
co>ral reefs attracted the visitors. Dane of the 
panels portrayed trhe Sagoir Kamya r the spe- 
cially designed ship nased for scientific expe- 
ditions. The series off expeditions to 

Tte fBdtriteite 8C-> 


Antarctica amid the nature of tribe studies 
undertaken 01 human adaptation) inn Ant- 
arctica were also depicted. The National 
Data Buoy ProgranMne y the data buoy ol>- 
semratioms during the Arabian Sea cyclone 
and exploration off ocean depths for drags 
were among the interesting exhibits. 


Hum riMju 

The techmollogjy 
and systems 
used for mining 
of miherall 
resources from 
the sea floor 
and specimens- 
of polymetallic 
recovered from 
Indian Ocean 

aorjjmn i f < T» 


WiiH v nrivtrw- 
SaoKHjul •*»- -Vtikii-J 

A model of title Sagar Kamya, a specially equipped ship used 
in oceanographic research. 


Vigyan Rail £0 

Panel explaining the CSIR initiatives to promote excellence in 
science through fellowships, awards, training programmes, 

Products developed by CSIR laboratories: Model of the 
Sonalika tractor. 

Science and Industry 

Council of Scientific and Industrial 

The Council of Scientific and Industrial 
Research (CSIR) highlighted the significant 
contributions the national laboratories un- 
der it had made in divers e fields of societal 
relevance. Starting with the profile of CSIR, 
containing the names of the laboratories, 
their location and those at the helm of af- 
fairs since their inception, the panels dis- 
played the various technologies of relevance 
to the community at large, developed by 
them. One of these is the low-cost efficient 
water pump, brand-named ‘India Mark II’, 
which had helped to quench the thirst of 
people not only in rural India but also in 
many other developing countries. The 
CSIR’s contribution to the food processing 
industry by developing technologies for in- 
creasing the shelf-life of farm produce and 
processing them into ready-to-eat products 
was highlighted. This helped not only the 
farmers to earn more but also the country 
to minimize imports of baby milk food, fruit 
juices, etc. In the 1970s baby food was be- 
ing imported and efforts to get it indig- 
enously manufactured did not fructify as 
prospective entrepreneurs argued that 
enough cow’s milk was not available and 
that buffalo milk had too much of fat. One 
of the laboratories under CSIR developed a 
process to make baby food from buffalo milk 
and handed over the technology to Kaira 
Milk Producers Cooperative, which had 
since been manufacturing and marketing 
milk powder under the brand name AMUL. 

The immense contribution made by the 
CSIR in the area of drugs and pharmaceu- 
ticals was also highlighted. Eleven out of 14 

The Exhibits hO 

drugs developed in Independent India were 
from CSIR laboratories. These included oral 
pills for birth control and an anti-malarial 
drug. When natural disasters like earth- 
quakes occurred the CSIR laboratories were 
in the forefront in providing relief and reha- 
bilitation to the victims in different ways. In 
the field of aviation its contribution lay in 
the development of two-seater trainer air- 
craft, named Hartsa and a 1 4-seater aircraft 
named Saras. 

The contribution of CSIR in increasing 
food production was no less significant. The 
20-HP tractor, brand-named Swaraj , was 
developed by one of the national laborato- 
ries in the 1970s and manufactured by the 
public sector Punjab Tractors Ltd. More than 
one lakh Swaraj tractors are now in use, 
which brings out the popularity this tractor 
enjoyed among the farmers. More recently 
the CSIR had come out with a 60-HP trac- 
tor named Sonalika. 

Some of the other contributions high- 
lighted were the breakthrough in bamboo 
flowering by tissue culture, use of DNA fin- 
gerprinting to unravel identity, safety mea- 
sures in coal mines, light combat aircraft, 
aerospace testing facilities, and super com- 
puting facilities. In the 1980s our country 
was starved of computing power as the 
supercomputers made in the West were ei- 
ther too expensive or were not sold to India. 
Indian scientists took it as a challenge to 
build indigenous capability and connected 
several sequential computers in parallel. The 
result was the “Flosolver”, India’s first par- 
allel computing facility, which hit the mar- 
ket in 1986. Its success triggered the 
development of other parallel computing 
products such as PARAM by C-DAC. The 
visitors to CSIR display got an idea of the 

Model of the Saras aircraft developed by CSIR. 


03 Vigyam (Rta)l 

Coall degradation plant developed by CSIIIFL 

Hansa- 3, India’s first afl-composfe two-seater trainer aircraft 
(developed by C SIR. 

3 indugenous S&T capability developed in 
diverse areas and Ae initiatives taken to 
build a pool of expert S&T manpower 
through fellowships and training 
programmes, India is now Ae single laigest 
global source for experts in leather and food 
processing technology. 

Another success story highlighted related 
to the development of mint plants wi A high 
oil content- As a result, Ae farmers in Terai 
region of Himalayas are literally nunting 
money. Improved varieties of mint devel- 
oped by CSIR laboratories were being cul- 
tivated on TQ^QKMj) hectares of land in Ak 
region by nearly 20/MM3 farmers, India has 
emerged as Ae largest exporter of men Aol 
mint and its oil, displacing China to Ae sec- 
ond position. The CSIR has also helped to 
revive Ae tea industry in Himachal Pradesh, 
The activities of CSIR scientists extended 
to Ae oceans where Aey were exploring 
for strategic minerals. The visitors also got 
an idea of Ae success of Ae MiMenium In - 
dia Technology Leadership Initiative, which 
sought to make our country a world leader 
in selected fields of technology. 

04 The Exhibits bO 




Defence Research 
and Development 

Defence Research and Development 

While the CSIR focussed its R&D efforts 
on topics of relevance to the community at 
large, the Defence Research and Develop- 
ment Organisation (DRDO) concentrated 
its efforts on enhancing the military might 
of the country. The DRDO had its begin- 
ning in 1948 as Defence Science 
Organisation, with a few basic science labo- 
ratories working in service disciplines and 
was restructured as DRDO in 1958. Since 
then it has grown into a dynamic, multi- 
disciplinary, national scientific agency with 
over 50 well-equipped research establish- 
ments spread all over the country engaged 
in a wide spectrum of R&D activities to 
make the nation self-reliant in critical tech- 
nologies of relevance to national security. 
Its R&D work covered frontier areas of 
aeronautics, armament, high-energy explo- 
sives and propellants, combat vehicles, com- 
bat engineering equipment, communication 
systems, electronics and instrumentation, 
missiles, Naval technologies, radar, robot- 
ics, artificial intelligence, avalanche predic- 
tion and control, high-altitude agriculture 
and food preservation. The exhibits of 
DRDO turned out to be a star attraction for 
the visitors. 

The DRDO display began with the pho- 
tographs of eminent scientists who were at 
its helm since its inception and a map show- 
ing the location of its research establish- 
ments. Then followed the models of different 
equipment developed indigenously. These 
were the Main Battle Tank Ar/w«, the world- 
class multi-hop bridging system Sarvatra , 

Model of a missile carrier developed by DRDO. 


(73 VigyanRail 

the multi barrel rocket system Pinaka, the 
missiles Nag, BrabMos, Pritbvi, and Agni, 
the pilotless aircraft Nisbant , the world’s 
smallest light combat aircraft Tejas, the 
battlefield surveillance radar, torpedo, ex- 
treme cold weather clothing and processor 
based ground mine. The models evoked 
considerable interest among the visitors. 
One of the panels presented the titanium 
dental implants developed by the Delhi- 
based INMAS and Hyderabad-based Non- 
ferrous Technology Development Centre. 

Model of the Pr/'fbw'missile. 

The Exhibits KJ) 



Renewable Energy 

Ministry of Non-conventional Energy 

After getting an idea of the contribution of 
defence scientists towards national security, 
visitors got a feel of the steady progress 
being made in the country to achieve en- 
ergy security by tapping non-conventional 
sources such as Sun, wind, water, farm 
wastes and municipal wastes. Put up by the 
Ministry of Non-conventional Energy 
Sources (MNES), the panels depicted the 
renewable energy products and projects. 
These included systems to tap wind energy, 
small hydro resources, solar photovoltaic 
systems for water pumping, power genera- 
tion, lighting, solar cookers, solar water 
heating systems and biogas plant. Integrated 
use of these different sources for meeting 
diverse needs of a village was also depicted. 
One of the panels depicted a mega solar 
cooking system installed by Tirumalai 
Tirupati Devasthanam to cook two meals a 
day for 15,000 pilgrims. Another depicted 
the solar water heating system installed in 
a residential colony in Pune. 

The significant strides made in tapping 
biomass and wastes, both urban and indus- 
trial, were also projected. The exhibits in- 
cluded models and panels depicting biomass 
power generation plant, power generation 
from urban and industrial wastes, exploita- 
tion of hydrogen energy, vehicles powered 
by battery and fuel cell-battery hybrid, 
motorcycle based on hydrogen energy and 
commercial wind farm. Besides giving the 
visitors interesting information on the re- 
newable energy systems developed indig- 
enously the exhibits also highlighted the 
increasing share of renewable energy 

Model of a biogas plant 



03 Vigyan Rail 

sources in total power generation, their 
contribution in meeting the decentralised 
energy requirements and the exclusive 
Adithya Shops in different States where one 
could buy them. 

A general view of the MNES display 

Model highlighting the integrated deployment of different 
renewable energy sources including solar, wind, and biogas 

03 The Exhibits BO 




Green Revolution 

Indian Council of Agricultural Research 

In the next coach the Indian Council of Ag- 
riculture Research (ICAR) displayed exhib- 
its highlighting its contribution not only in 
making the country self-sufficient in food 
production but also in increasing the pro- 
duction of milk, fruits and vegetables, and 
fish, through development of improved tech- 
nology for production and processing. The 
panels highlighted the importance accorded 
to food production since the Vedic period 
and depicted the contributions made by In- 
dian farm scientists in developing improved 
varieties of wheat and rice and increasing 
the production of coarse cereals. The Durrum 
wheat and Sunhara scented rice were among 
the improved varieties exhibited. 

Much of the increase in food production had 
been due to the improved farming tech- 
niques, agriculture machinery and high- 
yielding varieties developed by the ICAR. 
These included the technique of zero tillage 
and hybrid rice variety. The development of 
hybrid rice helped to reverse the trend of 
yields reaching a plateau. Similarly, the 
development of livestock with new strains 
of crossbred cows and steps to control the 
Rinderpest disease, which affected cattle, 
made India occupy a leading place in the 
world in milk production. Besides highlight- 
ing this, the panels brought out the signifi- 
cant contributions made by ICAR scientists 
in poultry, fisheries and horticulture. The 
visitors were informed that India was now 
globally one of the largest producers of fruits 
and vegetables and that fresh fruits from 
India were very much in demand in foreign 
countries. The strides made in research in 
lac, soyabean and oyster pearl culture were 
also highlighted. 

Various soya 
products with 
high nutritional 

ICAR activities in the area of fisheries development 



03 Vigyan Rail bO 

ICMR has been engaged in development of vaccines against 
HIV, Cholera, Hepatitis A and Japanese Encephalitis. These 
are highlighted in this Panel. 

Byssinosis, a lung disease caused by inhalation of cotton 


Breathlessness & chest tightness on the first day of the week after weekend break -- Monday sickness. 

Prevalence of byssinosis is about 40% in card room and blow room workers in textile mills. 

Byssinosis is a notifable and compensable disease, under the Factory's Act. 

Prevention: Reduction of cotton dust using local exhaust. Card Room 

An association exists between byssinosis and endotoxin of Gram Negative Bacteria. 
Airborne GNB & their endotoxins are high in card room & blow room of the cotton textile mills. 


A lung disease caused by inhalation of mainly cotton dust. 



Health for All 

Indian Council of Medical Research 

A healthy and disease-free life is what ev- 
eryone wishes for and Indian medical scien- 
tists under the banner of Indian Council of 
Medical Research (ICMR) have over the 
years made significant contribution towards 
this goal. Established in 1911 as Indian 
Research Fund Association, the ICMR got 
its present name in 1949 in the wake of In- 
dependence. Through a network of research 
institutions set up in different States the 
ICMR had been striving to improve the state 
of public health and tackle a variety of dis- 
eases afflicting the people. The informative 
exhibits put up by ICMR provided the visi- 
tors a glimpse of the initiatives taken to- 
wards the development of vaccine for HIV/ 
AIDS, hepatitis and Japanese encephalitis. 
The technology for the hepatitis vaccine 
developed by ICMR scientists has been 
transferred to Bharat Biotech for commer- 
cialization. Development work on the Japa- 
nese encephalitis is in an advanced stage. 
The other diseases focussed upon by ICMR 
were malaria, tuberculosis, leprosy, jaun- 
dice, dengue, and silicosis, byssinosis and 
other occupational hazards. 

The panels highlighted the studies on dis- 
tribution of malaria cases, malaria vectors 
and the control measures developed. In the 
case of tuberculosis the exhibits explained 
the causes of the disease and the different 
treatment protocols developed. The panels 
on leprosy highlighted the importance of 
early detection and uninterrupted treatment. 
The ICMR’s work in the wake of natural 
calamities, like earthquake and outbreak of 
diseases on a mass scale, was also high- 
lighted. These covered the investigations 

C >5 The Exhibits KT 


into Kyasanur Forest Disease, mustard oil 
contamination in Madhya Pradesh, and di- 
arrhoea in some parts of Kolkata. In the 
field of occupational health the panels ex- 
plained the studies undertaken by National 
Institute of Occupational Health in respect 
of human-machine interface, human-envi- 
ronment interface, user-system interface and 
human-organization interface. 

A general view of ICMR display. 

Workers engaged in Quartz crushing, Agate grindin^jSlat 
Stone quarries, Ceramic industries, etc. are at high 


Slat* p*ncll 

Prevalence of Simple Silicosis 

Agate Workers 

( 54 . 6 %), 

^ April 1 982 

Progressive Massive Fibrosis 



A crippling and often fatal lung disease due to deposition of silica dust 

Silicosis, a 
disease caused 
by airborne 
silica dust. Both 
Silicosis and 
Byssinosis are 
diseases being 
studied by the 
Institute of 
Health under 

C25 Vigyan Rail EO 

Model of the 
satellite launch 
vehicle, GSLV 



Into Space 

Indian Space Research Organization 

The Indian space programme has emerged 
as one of the most prominent scientific and 
technological successes in the post-Indepen- 
dence era. The strides made in the develop- 
ment and application of space science and 
technology for the benefit of the commu- 
nity were highlighted by the Indian Space 
Research Organisation (ISRO). ISRO was 
formed in 1969 under the Department of 
Atomic Energy and later, when the Depart- 
ment of Space was created, it was brought 
under it. The 1 970’s and Early 1 980’s marked 
the era of experimentation during which 
satellites like Aryabhata, Bhaskara, Rohini 
and APPLE were built and launched. Dem- 
onstrations of space applications like Satel- 
lite Instructional Television Experiment 
(SITE), the Satellite Telecommunication 
Experiment Project (STEP) and experimen- 
tal projects in remote sensing were also 
launched. The success of these programmes 
paved the way for commissioning space 
systems in the 1 980s when the multipurpose 
INSAT system for telecommunication, tele- 
vision broadcasting and meteorology, and 
the Indian Remote Sensing Satellite IRS) 
for resources monitoring and management 
were established. The Indian space 
programme became self reliant with the 
commissioning of its launch vehicles Polar 
Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and Geo- 
synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle 
(GSLV) for launching spacecraft into polar 
orbits and geo-synchronous transfer orbits 

The display by ISRO vividly portrayed 
the milestones in the Indian space 
programme. The panels depicted the gen- 

The Exhibits 


esis and organisation of India’s space 
programme and the space systems like 
INSAT for different applications, the IRS 
series of remote sensing satellites, and the 
launch vehicles like PSLV and GSLV. Big 
pictures and scale models of launch vehicles 
and satellites attracted the visitors, espe- 
cially from remote areas, who have no other 
means of learning about these developments. 
A significant feature of the display was that 
it also sought to explain to the visitors the 
nuances of space technology like the func- 
tioning of rockets and satellites, types of 
orbits, rocket propellants, etc. The exhibits 
also provided the basic information on the 
satellites developed for different applica- 
tions like communication, meteorology, di- 
saster warning, etc. One of the panels 
provided information on India’s scientific 
mission to Moon, Cbandrayan-I. A demon- 
stration model explained the concept of geo- 
synchronous and polar orbits. There was 
an interesting panel presenting the pictures 
received from the meteorological satellite 

Visitors going round the space exhibits 

One of the panels explained with illustra- 
tions the different applications of INSAT. 
The INSATs are used for TV broadcasting 
and radio networking, providing access to 
television for 850 million people through 
more than 1 ,000 transmitters. Other appli- 
cations included telemedicine connectivity 
to provide super-speciality medical services 
in remote and rural areas, telecommunica- 
tions, search and rescue, social development 
through exclusive channels for education 
and training, and cyclone warning services 
through receivers set up along the coast. All 
these were quite educative and informative. 

Model of the Indian Remote Sensing satellite IRS P-4 


The activities of 
Vigyan Prasar - 
and publications 

A visitor trying 
his hand at the 
Kiosk put up by 
Vigyan Prasar 



Initiatives by DST and DBT 

Vigyan Prasar, India Meteorological 
Department, Survey of India, TIFAC, and 
Department of Biotechnology 

Four agencies under the Department of 
Science and Technology (DST) and the 
Department of Biotechnology (DBT) shared 
the last coach. The agencies under DST 
projected the initiatives taken to promote 
scientific research and technology develop- 
ment, build up excellence in scientific re- 
search and generate greater awareness 
among the people at large about the value 
of science and technology. 

One of these agencies was Vigyan Prasar 
set up as an autonomous registered Society 
in 1989 to take up large-scale programmes 
to popularise science and technology. Act- 
ing as a resource-cum-facility centre for 
S&T communication, it had set up 5,000 
science clubs in the country under the name 
of VIPNET Science Clubs. It has also been 
producing radio and television programmes 
in different languages, publishing a monthly 
newsletter titled Dream 2047 and organiz- 
ing workshops, seminars and training 
programmes on a variety of scientific 
topics. Vigyan Prasar highlighted all these 
initiatives through informative panels on 
the national network of Science Clubs, 
its publications on eminent scientists and 
scientific phenomena, Ham radio, and kits 
and toys. A Science Quiz, especially 
designed for the visitors, was an added 

The Survey of India, which is the national 
survey and mapping organization, is the 
oldest scientific agency of the Government 
of India dating back to 1767. Its main task 
is to provide base maps of the country’s 

The Exhibits 


domain. Two hundred years ago it under- 
took the massive project called “The Great 
Indian Arc of the Meridian”. It was the long- 
est measurement of the Earth’s surface ever 
to have been attempted. At the time of Inde- 
pendence the country inherited a survey 
network built on scientific principles. The 
scientific principles of surveying have been 
augmented by the latest technology to meet 
the different data requirement of planners 
and scientists. The panels put up by the 
Survey of India highlighted its mandate and 
activities in the area of geodesy, photogram- 
metry, mapping, and map production. Some 
of the topographic maps and guide maps of 
tourist and trekking centres produced by the 
Survey of India displayed were quite infor- 

The India Meteorological Department too 
has a long history dating back to 1 875. It is 
charged with the onerous task of providing 
information on weather conditions, which 
had impact on a range of economic activi- 
ties. The panels put up by IMD highlighted 
the weather forecasting services provided 
for different purposes and the way warn- 
ings about severe weather phenomena like 
cyclones, dust storms, heavy rains, snow- 
fall, etc., were communicated to the district 
officers. The panels presented the Upper Air 
Network and a map of seismic zones and 
the network of seismological observatories 
in 1947 and in 2003. There was an interest- 
ing panel explaining every aspect of earth- 
quakes, including the causes, and giving a 
list of major earthquakes that had occurred 
in India. There were interesting pictures 
received from INS AT 1-D showing the de- 
velopment of the supercyclone that started 
on 26 th October 1999 and hit Puri coast on 
29 th October. The details of the studies con- 
ducted by IMD as part of the Antarctica 

Publications of 
Vigyan Prasar. 

Tourist Map and 
a Trekking Map 
produced by 
Survey of India 


Vigyan Rail IrJ 

A theodolite 
used in survey 

Satellite images 
of the Orissa 
Super Cyclone 
received from 


Expedition were also depicted. One of the 
panels depicted the ascent of Ozone Sonde 
at the Meteorological Station set up at 
Maitri in Antarctica for ozone measure- 

The Technology Information, Forecast- 
ing and Assessment Council (TIFAC), an 
autonomous organization under the DST, 
highlighted its efforts to monitor global 
trends in technology developments, formu- 
late preferred technology options for India 
and promote homegrown technology devel- 
opment activities. Over a dozen technolo- 
gies in different areas developed under the 
TIFAC programmes were displayed. These 
were CFC-free refrigerant, plasma pyroly- 
sis of bio-medical waste, SCARA-type pick- 
place robot, standardized natural dyes, 
catalytic converters for vehicles, rapid di- 
agnostic kits for poultry and cattle, detona- 
tion spy gun for surface cutting, flammable 
gas sensors, synthetic friction material for 
clutch plates, skid-mounted hydrogen gen- 
erator and high purity Omega-3 fish oil. 
Besides these, the TIFAC panels listed the 
reports brought out by it on the latest tech- 
nologies and business investment opportu- 
nities to help those interested in starting 
business. The details of National Bamboo 
Mission, launched by TIFAC, were also 

The Department of Biotechnology, set up 
in 1986, has been instrumental in giving a 
fresh impetus to the development of mod- 
ern biology and biotechnology in India. It 
has set up autonomous institutes in frontier 
areas of modern biology and two public 
sector enterprises. It has also set up a strong 
infrastructure network for biotechnology 
research across the country and has been 
promoting post-graduate programmes in 

The Exhibits iO 


biotechnology in various universities. All 
these initiates were presented in the panels 
put up by DBT. The exhibits sought to edu- 
cate the visitors about biotechnology, the 
progress made in India in biotechnology and 
its importance in various fields of human 

A model of DNA double-helix structure 
gave the visitors an idea of one of the fore- 
most discoveries made in 1953 by James 
Watson and Francis Crick, which won for 
them the Nobel Prize. One of the panels 
depicted the supercomputer facility set up 
at IIT Delhi to carry out molecular simula- 
tion in silico and research in genes and pro- 
teins. Another panel explained 
micro-propagation for production of large 
number of plants identical to the mother 
plant under sterile conditions. The develop- 
ment of “oil zapper”, a bacterium for de- 
grading crude oil and oily sludge and thereby 
reclaiming lands contaminated by oil spills 
was presented through another exhibit. Also 
on display were pictures of the contami- 
nated land before and after reclamation 
along with list of oil companies, which had 
benefited by this development. Another dis- 
play related to the cost-effective technol- 
ogy, using grass, woody species and their 
associated rhizospheric microbes, for restor- 
ing desertified areas of mined areas. 

Among the other programmes highlighted 
were promotion of bio-reserves in Fiima- 
layan, North Eastern, Coastal and Island 
eco-systems and desert region; the setting 
up of a Butterfly Park in Bangalore to sen- 
sitize the people on the importance of our 
rich biological wealth; and development of 
edible vaccines that would make it easy for 
children to get inoculated and obviate the 
need for cold chain to store the vaccines. 



f Technologies Developed Under HGTj 

CFC free refrigerant HFC-I34a 
plasma pyrolysis of biomedical waste 

SCARA type pick-and-place robot 
Synthetic thickener for pigment print 
Catalytic converters for vehicles 
Rapid diagnostic kits for poultry 

. Gallic Acid by fermentation 

Detonation Spray Gun for - 
Flammable gas sen50r ’ d „ J 

industrial microwave drying 1 

under TIFAC’s 
Home Grown 

Models of greenhouse and shade area at the DBT-sponsored 
Micropropagation Technology Park at TERI, Delhi. 

♦ Regenerating plants of the desired sej 

new introduction! 

r ed plants 

; ■ ' "ijara 


03 Vigyan Rail EO 

r s Autonomous 

• National Centre for Cel, Science (NCOS, 

Pune h 

* ,co F o, t r ,in3e ' 

(CDFD), Hyderabad 

• National Brain Research Centre (NBRC) 

* c '"" e tor p “" ! Geno ™ ««»«/. 
(NCPGR), New Delhi 

• Institute for Bioresource & Sustainable 
Development (IB SO), fmp/ia/. 

• Institute of Life Sciences (ILS), 


Model of the DNA double helix (left); list of Institutions under 
DBT (right). 

A model of supercomputer facility set up by DBT at NT Delhi 
to carry out molecular simulation in silico and research in 
genes and proteins. 

One of the panels was quite informative on 
various aspects of diabetes and malaria and 
their treatment. This panel listed the efforts 
being made to develop new insulin delivery 
systems - oral, nasal and dermal -besides 
stem cell therapy for diabetes. Another 
panel depicted a model bio-village being de- 
veloped in Gujarat and the Biotechnology 
Park for Women in Tamil Nadu. A model of 
a bioreactor, a multipurpose fermentor used 
for production of life saving antibiotics and 
antibodies and treatment of biodegradable 
waste, was a centre of attraction. 

A model of a bioreactor for culturing 
microbial consortium put up by 
Department of Biotechnology (DBT). 


December 15, 2003. The Safdarjang Rail- 
way Station on the Capital’s Ring Railway 
network was as usual, crowded with office- 
going commuters. But for a change, it wore 
a festive look on that day with flowers and 
festoons. A host of VIPs had turned up not 
to board any train or send off any VIP but 
to witness a unique train being flagged off. 
It was indeed unique because it did not carry 
passengers or commodities but exhibits on 
the country’s scientific heritage and progress 
over the years. The purpose was not just to 
publicize the achievements but also to pro- 
mote public awareness of what science and 
technology had done, and could do, for the 
welfare of society at large. 

Braving the severe winter cold the 
invitees, numbering nearly 2,000 including 
500 school students, cheered profusely as 
the Prime Minister Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee 
flagged off the florally decorated blue- 
coloured special train on its journey round 
the country on a unique mission. As the Prime 
Minister rightly underlined, the occasion 
assumed added significance because the 
Ministry of Science and Technology had 
declared 2004 as the Year of Scientific 
Awareness. “India could achieve a bright 
future only when a majority of her popula- 
tion developed a scientific temper”, Shri 
Vajpayee remarked quoting the country’s 
first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. 

Shri Atal Vihari Vajpayee, Former Prime Minister, flagging off 
Vigyan Rail at Delhi Safdarjung station on December 15, 2003. 


Vigyan Rail 

Development of scientific temper was the 
aim of the Vigyan Rail project, a joint ven- 
ture of the Ministry of Science and Tech- 
nology and the Ministry of Railways, 
actively supported by different scientific 
departments and agencies. 

Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, Minister for 
Human Resource Development and Science 
and Technology, Shri Nitish Kumar, Minis- 
ter of Railways, Shri Bachi Singh Rawat, 
Minister of State for Science & Technol- 
ogy, Shri Baswangouda Patil, Minister of 
State of Railways, and Shri M. V. Kamath, 
President, Vigyan Prasar Society received 
the Prime Minister. Dr. Joshi explained the 
underlying concept of the Vigyan Rail 
project, while Shri Nitish Kumar detailed 
how science was being deployed to address 
the concerns over rail safety. 

Shri Arun Kumar, Dy. Commissioner, inaugurating Vigyan Rail 
at Chandigarh. 

This marked the opening of the unique 
Exhibition on Wheels, but not the start of 
the journey round the country, which took 
place only a week later. This interregnum 
provided an opportunity for the Delhiites 
to have a glimpse of the nation’s hoary past 
and the modern-day achievements in the 
field of science and technology. Residents 
of Delhi availed of it in full measure and 
there were 25,000 visitors, including stu- 
dents from 25 schools. Thirty volunteers 
from various colleges were deployed to 
supplement the representatives of the par- 
ticipant scientific departments and agen- 
cies to guide the visitors and explain to them 
the exhibits. 

The train then began its journey on De- 
cember 21 and its first halt was Chandigarh, 
where it arrived on the following morning 
to a warm welcome by the local residents 
led by the Deputy Commissioner Shri Arun 
Kumar. Significantly, the city’s leading 

C6 The Journey 


newspaper The Tribune had come out with 
not only the news of its scheduled 
programme but also an editorial that morn- 
ing describing the Vigyan Rail as a good 
initiative in spreading awareness and incul- 
cating pride in our scientists’ achievements. 
The Haryana Vigyan Manch and the Punjab 
State Council for Science & Technology had 
helped in arranging for the volunteers. 
Unlike in Delhi, where college students 
volunteered as guides, in Chandigarh stu- 
dents of Class XI and XII along with a dozen 
teachers volunteered to guide the visitors. 
During its halt for three days in Chandigarh 
the Vigyan Rail attracted 31,000 visitors. 
On the third day the number of visitors 
swelled to 1 5,000 forcing the authorities to 
keep it open till late in the night. According 
to media reports the exhibits of Defence 
Research and Development Organisation 
and Indian Space Research Organisation 
attracted the visitors the most. 

From Chandigarh the train moved to 
Ambala, a cosmopolitan town mostly of 
defence personnel. It was Christmas day and 
the Vigyan Rail added to the festive mood. 
Shri M.L.Kausik, Additional Deputy Com- 
missioner, opened the Exhibition, which 
attracted 1 6,000 visitors over the next three 
days. The Haryana Vigyan Manch helped 
in making the arrangements for guiding the 
visitors and explaining to them the exhibits. 
Besides the local volunteers, representa- 
tives of the participating scientific agencies 
were also present to satisfy the curiosity of 
the visitors. 

From the defence station of Ambala to 
the pilgrim centre of Haridwar, it was not 
a long haul. But due to the thick fog, which 
is prevalent around this time of the year 
around this town, the Vigyan Rail reached 

Shri S. K. Maheshwari, District Magistrate, viewing exhibits 
inside the Vigyan Rail at Haridwar. 

Ctf Vigyan Rail £0 

Smt Manisha Pawar, District Collector, inaugurating Vigyan 
Rail at Dehra Dun. 

Haridwar eight hours late and by the time 
it entered the platform it was seven o’clock 
in the evening. Scores of school students 
with curiosity writ large on their faces 
waited in vain for the whole day at the sta- 
tion to have a glimpse of the exhibits. But, 
by the time it arrived, it was too late for 
public viewing. Only on the following morn- 
ing did the District Magistrate Shri S. K. 
Maheswari cut the ceremonial ribbon to 
mark the opening of the Exhibition. Visitors 
not only from Haridwar but also from 
Roorkee, Rishikesh and other surrounding 
areas came in large numbers and stood in 
long queues braving the cold weather. An 
estimated 30,000 visitors of all age groups 
and from all sections of society saw the 
exhibits with great enthusiasm. 

Students waiting in queue on the platform in Kathgodam to 
enter Vigyan Rail. 

Late at night the train started on its on- 
ward journey and reached Dehra Dun, 
known for its cool climate and the Indian 
Military Academy, in the early hours of 
December 30. The District Magistrate 
Shrimati Manisha Panwar, who opened the 
Exhibition for public viewing, expressed the 
hope that it would motivate the students to 
take up science as their career and generate 
awareness among the general public about 
the contribution of science to society. The 
train was in Dehra Dun for four days and 
every day there were over 30,000 visitors. 
This reflected the interest the train had gen- 

After satisfying the curiosity of the people 
in and around Dehra Dun the Vigyan Rail 
climbed up the hills to reach Kathgodam on 
the forenoon of January 3, 2004. Students 
evinced great interest and came in large 
numbers despite the biting cold in the hilly 
terrain. When the train arrived, the as- 
sembled students and general public gave a 

The Journey 

thunderous applause as Shri Mahendra Pal 
Singh, Member of Parliament, received it. 
Later, in the afternoon the PWD Minister of 
Uttaranchal, Shrimati Indra Hridayesh, 
who is also in charge of Science & Technol- 
ogy, opened the Exhibition for public view- 
ing. Despite the discomfort caused by the 
delay in the opening of the Exhibition and 
the consequent long wait in the queue the 
visitors went through the exhibits with keen 
interest, making searching queries about 
them. The visitors included the BJP State 
Secretary and a former Health Minister Shri 
Ajay Bhat. The Exhibition attracted an es- 
timated 30,000 visitors every day during its 
three-day halt in Kathgodam. For a small 
station in a hilly region this is quite a signifi- 
cant number. 

From the cool hills the train moved down 
to Bareilly in the plains on January 6. At an 
impressive function on the railway platform 
Union Minister of State for Science & Tech- 
nology, Shri Bachi Singh Rawat, opened the 
Exhibition for public in the presence of over 
2,000 invitees. The Union Minister of State 
for Heavy Industries Shri Santosh Gangwar 
was the Chief Guest. A record number of 
2.5 lakh visitors, including a large number 
of students, saw the exhibits during its 3- 
day halt in Bareilly. Two days before the 
train reached Bareilly, Shri Gangwar had a 
meeting with the heads of educational insti- 
tutions in the city and sought their coopera- 
tion in ensuring that the students took the 
maximum advantage of the opportunity 
provided by the Exhibition to know about 
the country’s progress in different fields of 
science and technology. Pursuant to this, 
students from as many as 130 schools vis- 
ited the Exhibition. 

Shri Santosh Gangwar, formar Union Minister fot Heavy 
Industries (extreme left), Shri Bachi Singh Rawat, former 
Union Minister of State for Science & Technology (second 
from left), and other guests looking at the exhibits at Bareilly. 

Section of the crowd at the inauguration of Vigyan Rail at 


C# Vigyan Rail £0 

Visitors queue up on the platform at Lucknow to get into 
Vigyan Rail. 

Delegates visiting Vigyan Rail at Lucknow (From L - R front 
row): Dr. C. M. Nautiyal, Scientist, BSIP; Shri R. K. Singh, 
DRM, Lucknow and Shri Nanith Sehgal, District Magistrate. 

The next halt for the train was Lucknow, 
capital of Uttar Pradesh, where it reached 
on January 9. The morning newspapers had 
headlined the news of the scheduled arrival 
of the train and hundreds of people had 
gathered at the Saloon Siding of the 
Charbagh Railway Station to greet the train. 
Later, Shri R.K.Bansal, Divisional Railway 
Manager and Dr. Nanith Sehgal, District 
Magistrate opened the Exhibition for pub- 
lic viewing in the presence of a large gath- 
ering of special invitees, including the 
Director and other officers of the UP Coun- 
cil of Science & Technology and Dr. 
C.M. Nautiyal, Scientist, Birbal Sahni Insti- 
tute of Paeleobotany. Shri Raj Kamal 
Srivastava, General Secretary of UP Scien- 
tific and Rationalist Society, was the local 
coordinator. During its five-day halt in 
Lucknow the train attracted 1.5 lakh visi- 
tors, including students of 120 schools. Lo- 
cal volunteers guided the visitors and helped 
in the orderly viewing of the exhibition de- 
spite the heavy rush of visitors. 

The comments from the visitors showed 
the extent to which the exhibits had im- 
pressed them, particularly the younger gen- 
eration . The exhibits of the DRDO and ISRO 
seemed to have made a lot of impact on the 
visitors. A 10-year old girl student was 
amazed by the miniatures of fighter planes 
and tanks and commented that the exposi- 
tion had strengthened her will to be a fighter 
pilot. A 12-year-old student described the 
Exhibition as an eye opener while another 
said that it had generated a lot of confi- 
dence in him. Quite a few students pursuing 
courses in science subjects termed it as a 
real learning experience not only for them 
but also for the teachers accompanying 
them. A special feature of the train’s 

CM The Journey fcO 


programme in Lucknow was the Open 
Learning Session organized for three days 
from January 1 1 in which Dr C. M. Nautiyal 
responded to questions from the students on 
the various exhibits. The HAL Ham Club 
had established a VHF ham radio commu- 
nication desk, which demonstrated to the 
public the value of ham. 

After satiating the knowledge thirst of 
Lucknowites, the Vigyan Rail reached the 
industrial town of Kanpur on January 14. It 
happened to be the day of Makar Sankranti 
and the devout were having a dip in the holy 
Ganga even as the train seeking to dispel 
blind faith chugged into platform No. 3, 
which was buzzing with activity since morn- 
ing as a large number of visitors had al- 
ready turned up. Shri Prashant Trivedi, 
District Magistrate and Dr. S.G.Dhande, 
Director of Indian Institute of Technology, 
Kanpur, opened the Exhibition for public 
viewing. Some of the city schools had de- 
clared it a holiday to enable the students 
visit the Exhibition as they considered it a 
golden opportunity for the students, espe- 
cially those appearing for the Board exami- 
nation, to widen their knowledge base. The 
students in turn took their visit to the Vigyan 
Rail seriously as a part of their class work 
rather than as a picnic. They took profuse 
notes from the exhibits and sought from the 
guides the minutest details. A team of 18 
railway scouts managed the crowd, which 
crossed the figure of one lakh in a span of 
four days. 

The confluence, Sangam , of three holy 
rivers - Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati - 
has all along been attracting the devout from 
all parts of the country to Allahabad; for a 
week from January 18, 2004, the city had 
an added attraction of a different nature. 

One of the guests keenly watching the surgical instruments 
used in the ancient days displayed by the National Council of 
Science Museums when the Vigyan Rail was at Kanpur. 

Ctf Vigyan Rail £0 

Visitors lined up to view Vigyan Rail at Allahabad. 

Foreign guests viewing with interest some of the exhibits at 

During this period the Vigyan Rail, which 
sought to inculcate a scientific temper 
among the general public, was stationed in 
the Troop Siding platform. The district ad- 
ministration and railway authorities de- 
cided to station the Vigyan Rail on the T roop 
Siding platform as a lot of pilgrim traffic 
was expected at the main platform due to 
the Kumbh Mela. The residents of 
Allahabad and nearby areas woke up on 
January 18 to the news of the scheduled 
arrival of the Science Exposition headlined 
in all the local newspapers and made a bee- 
line to the Troop Siding near DSA Ground. 
The Exhibition was opened for public view- 
ing in the afternoon in the presence of a 
large number of special invitees. Shri R. N. 
Tripathi, District Magistrate, was the Chief 
Guest on the occasion. The other distin- 
guished guests included Prof. K. B. Pandey, 
Chairman of LIP Public Service Commission, 
Dr. R.S.Kulkarni, Director of Elarish 
Chandra Research Institute, Shri 
A. K. Singh, Additional Divisional Railway 
Manager and Dr. A. K. Gupta, Dean, Fac- 
ulty of Science, Allahabad University. They 
all commended the initiative taken by Vigyan 
Prasar in organizing such an exhibition and 
taking it to the doorstep of the common man. 
Dr V. B. Kamble, Director, Vigyan Prasar, 
in his welcome speech, explained the under- 
lying idea of the Vigyan Rail. 

Judging from the long queues every day, 
the train seemed to be a hit among the people, 
especially the younger generation. Over a 
lakh of visitors, not only from the city but 
also from the villages around, had a glimpse 
of the various exhibits. The visitors were all 
praise for Vigyan Prasar and the Depart- 
ment of Science and Technology for their 
efforts to popularize science. The impact 

04 The Journey 


was such that the Headmaster of one of the 
schools said that one question paper on the 
exhibits in Vigyan Rail would be set for the 
students of his school. This indicated that 
Vigyan Rail was being looked upon as a 
part of education. 

From Allahabad the train moved to the 
holy town of Varanasi, where it was re- 
ceived and opened for public viewing at the 
Cantonment Station by Prof P. 
Ramachandra Rao, Vice Chancellor of 
Banares Hindu University, Shri Dev Sharan 
Singh Y adav, Divisional Commissioner and 
Shri R. K. Bansal, Divisional Railway Man- 
ager. Shri Amod Kumar Gupta, Divisional 
Commercial Manager, Railways, proposed 
a vote of thanks. The train attracted 
1,25,000 visitors during its five-day halt in 
Varanasi. Students came from nearby towns 
in school buses and stood in the queue for 
two to three hours to see the exhibits. In 
view of the heavy rush of visitors the timing 
for public viewing was extended on some of 
the days. 

From Uttar Pradesh the Vigyan Rail pro- 
ceeded on its onward journey to cover the 
remote areas in North Bihar. The initial 
programme was to cover only Muzaffarpur, 
Samastipur and Barauni; but later Sonepur 
was included in the itinerary. When the train 
reached Sonepur on January 29, Shri Neeraj 
Kumar, Divisional Railway Manager, re- 
ceived it and opened it for public. The halt 
was for only one day and 8,000 visitors had 
a glimpse of the exhibits on that day. 

The following day, the Martyrs Day, the 
train reached Muzaffarpur where the Dis- 
trict Magistrate Shri Amrit Lai Meena, 
opened the Exhibition. The rush of students 
was such that they were allowed into the 

Dignitaries lighting lamp during inaugural function at Varanasi. 

One of the distinguished guests writing about his impressions 
in the Visitors Book at Muzaffarpur. 


0*5 Vigyan Rail EO 

Long queue of 
students waiting 
to enter Vigyan 
Rail at 

train even before the formal opening cer- 
emony. Besides the students, Dr Nihar 
Ranjan Singh, Vice Chancellor of Dr 
B.R.Ambedkar University visited the Exhi- 
bition and was highly appreciative of the 
efforts put in by Vigyan Prasar to promote 
science awareness among the public. Stu- 
dents accounted for 50 per cent of the total 
visitors whose number rose day by day to 
reach a total of 54,000 over three days. . 

For the next three days from February 2 
the train was at Samastipur where the Di- 
visional Railway Manager, Shri R. C. 
Aggarwal, opened the Exhibition for the 
public and among the visitors was the Dis- 
trict Magistrate Shri Fal. Visitors came in 
local trains from nearby areas to see the 
exhibits. The total number of visitors was 
55,000 and this brought out the latent thirst 
for knowledge among the public in such 
remote areas. 

From Samastipur the train reached the 
oil town of Barauni, where Shri T. Sudheer, 
Assistant General Manager of Barauni 
Refinery, opened the Exhibition for the pub- 
lic in the presence of large number of invitees 
including the Regional Manager of East 
Central Railway, Shri Asgar Ali. Besides 
the entire township of the Refinery, students 
and common people from the whole 
Begusarai district also turned up to see the 
Exhibition. In three days the Exhibition at- 
tracted some 50,000 visitors. 

The Science Expo on Wheels then cov- 
ered North Bengal where it was scheduled 
to halt at Siliguri and Alipurduar. The train 
reached Siliguri on the evening of February 
7, almost 20 hours behind schedule. As a 
result the visitors could view the exhibits 
only for a couple of hours on the first day 

04 The Journey fcO 


after Prof P.K.Saha, Vice Chancellor of 
North Bengal University formally opened 
the Exhibition by lighting the traditional 
lamp. However, on the remaining two days 
the number of visitors increased to 50,000 a 
day. There were long queues every day and 
the visitors, including students, came from 
the nearby hill districts of Darjeeling, 
Kalimpong and Kurseong. One could see 
excitement writ large on the faces of stu- 
dents on seeing the models of satellites and 
defence equipment. 

The train then moved on to Alipurduar 
where Shrimati Pampa Babbar, Divisional 
Railway Manager opened it for the public 
in the presence of the officials of the State 
Government and the Railways. Shrimati 
Babbar saw the exhibits and evinced par- 
ticular interest in Ham Radio communica- 
tion, which was highlighted in one of the 
panels put up by the Vigyan Prasar in the 
last coach. The visitors included a large 
number of students from nearby hill areas 
and towns like Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri and 
villages bordering Bangladesh. More than 
a lakh of visitors saw the exhibits over the 
four days the train halted at Alipuduar. 

After covering the remote areas of North 
Bengal, the train reached Guwahati, capi- 
tal of Assam, on February 15. The Director 
of Vigyan Prasar, Dr V. B. Kamble, had 
reached Guwahati a day earlier to brief the 
media about the objectives of this unique 
Science Exhibition on Wheels. As a result of 
the extensive media coverage on the morn- 
ing of February 15, which happened to be a 
Sunday, a large number of curious visitors 
had assembled at the station long before the 
train arrived and was opened for the public. 
The distinguished guests who participated 
in the inaugural function included Prof G 

Prof. P. K. Saha, Vice Chancellor, North Bengal University, 
inaugurating Vigyan Rail at Siliguri. ADRM, New Jalpaiguri 
and Shri Gopal Lama, SDM, Darjeeling district are also seen 
in the photograph. 

a look at Vigyan 
Rail at 


04 Vigyan Rail bO 

Inaugural function of Vigyan Rail at Guwahati. 

Smt Leena Sarma, PRO, NF Railways lighting the lamp. 


UONBif MIMI>TtD MB Mioitlt k tlCH 6 kl k IT NAGALAND 

Inaugural function of the Vigyan Rail at Dimapur. 

From left to right: Shri Sandeep Baruah, S.S.O. (Vigyan 
Prasar, New Delhi), Dr. Zavei Heise, S.S.O. (DST, Nagaland), 
Shri Rajiv Bansal, Secretary (DST, Nagaland), Shri Deo 
Nukhu, S&T minister (Nagaland), Dr. Inakhe Sumi, Hony. 
Director, NIHESW and Shri M.C. Chauhan (ADRM, Lumding) 

Talukdar, Vice Chancellor of Guwahati 
University, Dr. D Barkataki, Shri 
M.C. Chauhan, ADRM and Shri Afsar 
H azarika, Divisional Commissioner, 
Kamrup. After the inauguration the inquisi- 
tive visitors clambered into the train to have 
a glimpse of the country’s scientific heri- 
tage and achievements after Independence. 
The students found the exhibits quite edu- 
cative and some of them could not hold their 
excitement on seeing the models of space- 
craft. For once science occupied the center- 
stage in the minds of the people of Assam 
and nearby areas at least for a whole week 
when the Vigyan Rail was stationed in 

Dimapur in Nagaland was the next halt. 
Here the Nagaland Minister for Higher 
Education, Science &c Technology and IT, 
Shri Deo Nukhu, opened the Exhibition for 
the public soon after its arrival on February 
21 . The Department of Science & Technol- 
ogy, Nagaland jointly with Nagaland Insti- 
tute of Health, Environment Social 
Welfare (NIHESW) hosted the inaugural 
function, which was presided over by Shri 
Rajiv Bansal, Secretary to Government of 
Nagaland in the Department of Science & 
Technology. Dr Inakhe Sumi, Honorary 
Director of NIHESW welcomed the guests 
who included 200 school children besides 
Shri Jyoti Kalash, DC, Dimapur, and Shri 
Janardan Kumar, SP, Dimapur. Dr. Zavei 
Hiese of the Department of Science & Tech- 
nology, Nagaland proposed a vote of 
thanks. This function also marked the offi- 
cial launch of the Year of Scientific Aware- 
ness by Nagaland Government. Students 
from far-flung areas like Kohirna in 
Nagaland and Numaligarh in Assam came 
to see the exhibits. During its three-day halt 

The Journey EO 


in Dimapur the Vigyan Rail attracted some 
30,000 visitors. Shri Andrew Ahoto, State 
Coordinator of National Children’s Science 
Congress, Nagaland had arranged for vol- 
unteers from Livingstone Public School. As 
the Nagaland Minister observed at the open- 
ing function, the Exhibition was an eye- 
opener for the young and old alike among 
the visitors. 

The next halt was originally scheduled at 
Dibrugarh but for operational reasons the 
halt was changed to Tinsukia where Shri 
Ashok Kumar, Additional Divisional Rail- 
way Manager, opened it for the public on 
February 24 in the presence of a large gath- 
ering of visitors and invitees. The Exhibi- 
tion evoked overwhelming response not only 
from the local residents but also from those 
who came from far-flung areas of Arunachal 
Pradesh. The total number of visitors dur- 
ing the four days the train was stationed in 
Tinsukia reached 50,000. The rush of visi- 
tors was so much that every day the Exhi- 
bition timing had to be extended by two 

After covering the North Eastern Region 
the Science Exhibition came to Patna, the 
seat of Bihar Government and an important 
centre of learning in ancient India. Visitors 
turned up in large numbers on the morning 
of February 28, the day it was originally 
scheduled to be opened for the public. But 
they had to return home disappointed as the 
train arrived only in the evening and was 
opened for the public only on the following 
morning by Shri Chandrika Rai, Minister 
for Science & Technology, Bihar. The spe- 
cial invitees at the inaugural function in- 
cluded Shri Burman, Divisional Rail 
Manager, Dr Shekhawat, Director of Sri 
Krishna Vigyan Kendra and Dr. A Ghosh, 

Shri Ashok 
Kumar, ADRM, 
inaugurated the 
exhibition at 

Hon’ble Minister of Science and Technology, Govt of Bihar, 
Shri Chandrika Rai inaugurating Vigyan Rail at Patna. 


c# Vigyan Rail bO 

Visitors in different age groups viewing the exhibits in one of 
the coaches at Durgapur. 

Shri S. K. Behra, 
DRM, Ranchi, 
Vigyan Rail at 

Director of the Planetarium. The 
Rajendranagar Terminal where the Vigyan 
Rail was stationed buzzed with activity with 
hundreds of curious visitors waiting in ser- 
pentine queues to enter the train and see the 
exciting exhibits. The youngsters among the 
milling crowd found the exhibits quite thrill- 
ing. A team of NCC cadets and 15 volun- 
teers locally recruited helped in managing 
the rush of visitors and guiding them through 
the Exhibition. The average daily turn out 
of visitors was around 40,000. Thus during 
its stoppage at Patna for five days the train 
attracted a record 2 lakh visitors. 

The steel town of Durgapur in West Ben- 
gal was the next halt and Shri Raj Kumar, 
Divisional Railway Manager, Asansol 
opened it for the public in the presence of 
Sub Divisional Magistrate of Durgapur and 
other senior officials. Around 10,000 visi- 
tors from Durgapur and neighbouring ar- 
eas saw the exhibits during the two days the 
train halted there. 

From the steel town it moved on to Ranchi, 
the capital of Chattisgarh, where the local 
Divisional Railway Manager, Shri 
S.K. Behra, opened the Exhibition, which 
attracted some 60,000 visitors over three 
days. The visitors were in different age 
groups but the young outnumbered the old. 
They all had come from far-off places and 
waited long hours to get into the train and 
see the exhibits. The students especially 
evinced keen interest in the exhibits and 
helped each other in understanding them. 

“A unique learning experience” . This was 
how the Divisional Railway Manager of 
Howrah, Shri H.V.Sharma, described suc- 
cinctly the Vigyan Rail as he opened the 
Science Exhibition for public view on March 
1 1 at Howrah, where it had arrived the 

C >6 The Journey &e> 


previous evening from Ranchi. Curious visi- 
tors thronged the station on the very first 
day of its week-long halt at Howrah. De- 
spite the impending annual examinations, a 
large number of students turned up to see 
the Science Exhibition and benefit from the 
exhibits. The Exhibition attracted visitors 
not only from Kolkata but also from nearby 
towns and the total number of visitors 
reached the figure of one lakh. 

The next halt was Bhubaneswar, the capi- 
tal of Orissa where the special train was 
stationed for three days from March 1 8. Shri 
Sujit Ranjan Chaudhuri, General Manager 
of East Coast Railway, inaugurated the 
Exhibition, which aroused considerable in- 
terest among the students. The overwhelm- 
ing response was manifested in the 
increasing number of visitors, which swelled 
from 15,000 on the first day to more than 
50,000 on the last day. The National Coun- 
cil of Science Museums organized a draw- 
ing competition on the second day in which 
a large number of school children partici- 

Cuttack, the largest city in Orissa, which 
had earlier been the seat of Orissa Govern- 
ment, was provided an opportunity to play 
host to the Science Exhibition on Wheels for 
two days from March 2 1 , though it was not 
in the original itinerary. Long before it ar- 
rived in Cuttack from Bhubaneswar there 
was a long queue of visitors eagerly waiting 
to see the exhibits. A number of visitors, 
who had missed it at Bhubaneswar, came to 
Cuttack. Schools in and around Cuttack 
organized special trips for students to visit 
Vigyan Rail and benefit from the exhibits. 
As many as 20,000 visitors saw the Exhibi- 

Shri Sujit Ranjan Chaudhuri, General Manager, East Coast 
Railways, inaugurating Vigyan Rail at Bhubaneshwar. 

0^ Vigyan Rail 

Students waiting in queue at Visakhapatnam. 

Shri S. P. Chaudhary, AGM, Central Railway and Shri N. C. 
Sinha, DRM, Central Railway viewing exhibits inside Vigyan 
Rail at Nagpur. 

The special train then travelled to the port 
town of Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh 
where Vice Admiral Shri O.P.Bansal, Flag 
Officer Commanding in Chief of the East- 
ern Naval Command, opened it for public 
viewing in the presence of a large gathering 
of special invitees including Shri S.V.Arya, 
Divisional Railway Manager. Railway 
scouts and local volunteers assisted in man- 
aging the heavy rush of visitors totalling 
45,000 and guiding them through the Exhi- 
bition. As many 35 schools in and around 
the town brought their students to see the 

After travelling for three months since it 
was flagged off from Safdarjung Railway 
Station in New Delhi the Science Exhibition 
on Wheels reached Durg on the morning of 
March 27. Later that evening Prof. B.P. 
Chandra, Vice Chancellor of Pt. Ravi 
Shankar University, Raipur, opened it for 
public viewing in the presence of special 
invitees who included Shri Umesh Singh, 
Additional Divisional Railway Manager 
and Dr. P.K.Bhatt, Director of Chattisgarh 
State Council of Science &c Technology. On 
the first day the Exhibition was open for 
only a couple of hours as it was opened for 
the public in the evening. During the next 
three days it was open the whole day and it 
attracted more than 60,000 visitors, includ- 
ing students from 50 schools in and around 
Durg. Besides the railway scouts, local vol- 
unteers helped in guiding the visitors. The 
Additional Chief Secretary to Chattisgarh 
Government, Dr Indira Mishra, visited the 
Exhibition on the last day and distributed 
certificates to the volunteers. She indicated 
in her brief remarks on the occasion that 
there was a proposal to build a science city 
in Chattisgarh. 

The Journey £0 


From Durg the train travelled to Nagpur 
where Shri S. P. Choudhary, Additional 
General Manager of Central Railway, 
opened it to the public on the afternoon of 
March 31. The inaugural function was at- 
tended by a large gathering of visitors and 
invitees including Shri N. C. Sinha, Divi- 
sional Railway Manager and Shri P. A. 
Launghare, Additional DRM. Local news- 
papers had prominently covered the sched- 
uled arrival of the train and kindled the 
interest of residents to such an extent that 
over the next four days 45,000 visitors from 
Nagpur and surrounding areas saw the ex- 
hibits. Every evening the Nagpur Station of 
All India Radio had a programme for half 
an hour giving details of the exhibits and 
the impressions of the visitors. 

Visitors viewing the exhibits at Nagpur. 

The next halt for the Vigyan Rail was 
Secunderabad in Andhra Pradesh where it 
halted for a week from April 5. Though the 
Board examinations were over some of the 
schools still had their examinations; but still 
the students came in large numbers to see 
the exhibits. One of the students from 
Nagarjuna Grammar School remarked that 
it was rare opportunity to see so many sci- 
ence exhibits under one roof and so she did 
not want to miss it. The City Police Com- 
missioner, Shri R. P. Singh, and the Divi- 
sional Railway Manager, Shri P.B.Murthy, 
inaugurated the Exhibition, which attracted 
around 30,000 visitors. 

The temple town of Tirupathi was the next 
to play host to Vigyan Rail for four days 
from April 12. The delayed arrival from 
Secunderabad upset the scheduled 
programme for inauguration. Shri A. 
Giridhar, Collector of Chittoor, came in the 
morning to the station to open the Exhibi- 
tion for the public, but due to other official 


03 VigyanRail £0 

“! »6 •Amr;z™ m mn 

Function to mark the opening of the exhibition at Chennai 
Central station. Dr E. Balaguruswami, Vice Chancellor of Anna 
University (in blue shirt, sitting) opened the Exhibition. 

Visitors inside Vigyan Rail at Chennai. 

work he could not stay on till the evening 
when the train actually arrived. Shri V 
Carmelus, Divisional Railway Manager of 
Guntakal, presided over the inaugural func- 
tion and Shri Ajeya Kallam, Executive Of- 
ficer of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam, 
opened the Exhibition for the public by cut- 
ting the ribbon. The Regional Science Cen- 
tre coordinated the arrangements and had 
put up banners and posters throughout the 
town and its neighbourhood. The Regional 
Science Centre also conducted quiz 
programmes on all the four days on the 
exhibits and the winners were presented 
with books brought out by Vigyan Prasar. 

Even as the summer heat was rising the 
Science Train moved further down south 
and reached Chennai on April 1 6 to a warm 
welcome from curious visitors who had 
thronged the 1 1 th platform in Chennai Cen- 
tral Station undeterred by the sultry 
weather. The Anna University had joined 
hands with Vigyan Prasar and the Railways 
to make the Chennai visit of Vigyan Rail a 
memorable event. A grand inaugural func- 
tion presided over by Shri V. Anand, Gen- 
eral Manager of Southern Railway, was 
organized at which Shri E Balaguruswamy, 
Vice Chancellor of Anna University, cut the 
ribbon to declare the Exhibition open to the 
public. Dr. R. Sridher, Director of Audio 
Visual Research Centre of Anna University, 
proposed a vote of thanks. All the speakers 
highlighted the scientific heritage and 
achievements of the country and appealed 
to the student community in particular to 
visit the Exhibition. The participating agen- 
cies had their representatives on the spot to 
interact with the visitors and explain the 
exhibits. A record number of one lakh visi- 
tors, mostly students, availed of this rare 

CM The Journey EO 

opportunity to broaden their general knowl- 
edge and appreciate the contribution of sci- 
ence and technology to society. 

A special feature in Chennai was the 
valedictory function in which the impact 
made by the Exhibition on the public at large 
was highlighted. Shri N. Jayaram, Divisional 
Railway Manager, who delivered the vale- 
dictory address, expressed his happiness that 
the very purpose of Vigyan Rail project had 
been achieved to a large extent. The experts 
from different participating agencies had a 
tough time answering a steady stream of 
questions from the students who wanted to 
know more than mere statistical data about 
the country’s achievements in science and 
technology. Students took down notes and 
drew pictures in their notebooks of the ex- 

Young visitors watching the display by the Mini stry of Non- 
conventional Energy Sources at Kanyakumari. 

The next halt was Kanyakumari, the 
southernmost point of mainland India. Ac- 
cording to the original schedule the train 
was to be stationed in Kanyakumari for two 
days - April 24 and 25 - but due to technical 
reasons the railway authorities suggested 
that the train should be taken to the nearby 
Nagercoil station on April 25. In 
Kanyakumari Prof. M Suresh 
Chandrakumar of Scot Christian College 
joined hands with Vigyan Prasar and rail- 
way officers in making necessary arrange- 
ments. Dr N. Vedachalam, Director, Liquid 
Propulsion Systems Centre, 

Thiruvananthapuram, inaugurated the Ex- 
hibition in Kanyakumari in the presence of 
a large gathering of visitors and special 
invitees, including the Deputy Commercial 
Manager of Southern Railways. Dr 
Vedachalam informed the audience about 
the ISRO programme for deploying satel- 
lites for different purposes. Around 5,000 

walks of life and age groups went round the 
Exhibition to broaden their knowledge and 
vision of science and technology. 

Shri Digambar Kamath (center), Minister of urban affairs, Goa 
and Dr. N. P. S. Varde, Member secretary, Goa State Council 
for S&T having a look at the exhibits at Madgaon. 

The historic town of Hu bli played host to 
the Science Exhibition on Wheels on its ar- 
rival from Bangalore on the afternoon of 
May 1 8. An enthusiastic crowd of students 
was waiting from the morning as the train 
was scheduled to arrive in the morning it- 
self. It turned out to be a long wait as the 
train arrived only in the afternoon and they 
could get into the train to see the exhibits 
only after Shri V. N. Biradar, Director of 
Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences, 
declared it open for the public. The inaugu- 
ral function was attended by a number of 
special invitees including Shri P. 
Rajagopalan, Divisional Railway Manager, 
Shri V. A. Kulkarni, Director of Science and 
Technology Centre, Dharwar, Ms. Sarayu 
Desai, who was the local coordinator on 
behalf of VigyanPrasar and Shri A. V. R. K. 
Sainath PRO, Hubli. The Exhibition evoked 
such an interest that around 70,000 visitors 
turned up during the three days it was in 

The next destination for the train was 
Madgaon in Goa. Here too the schedule 
was upset by the late arrival of the train. 
Consequently the duration of the Exhibi- 
tion in Madgaon got reduced to three days, 
starting May 22, when Shri Digambar 
Kamath, Goa minister for Urban Affairs 
opened it for public viewing. The invitees at 
the inaugural function included Dr. N. P. S. 
Varde, Member Secretary of Goa State 
Council for Science and Technology. The 
Exhibition attracted over 40,000 visitors 
before it moved to its next halt, Ratnagiri 
on May 25, where Dr. Subhash Dev, Princi- 
pal, Gogate Jogalekar College, opened it to 

OS The Journey iO 


the public in the presence of Shri D. R. 
Sundaram, Regional Railway Manager, 
Konkan Railways and Prof R. B. Kale of 
G.J. College. It was a hit in Ratnagiri with 
30,000 visitors of all age groups and from 
all walks of life making a beeline for the 

From Ratnagiri the Vigyan Rail chugged 
into Mumbai Central on May 28. Shri M.Z 
Ansari, General Manager of Western Rail- 
way, opened it to the public in the presence 
of Shri G. S. Rautela, Director of Nehru 
Science Centre and Shri M. V. Kamath, Presi- 
dent of Vigyan Prasar. A large number of 
curious visitors, mostly students, had been 
waiting on Platform No. 5 since early morn- 
ing and they thronged the coaches to have 
a glimpse of the hoary past and the modern 
achievements of the country in the field of 
science and technology. The Exhibition 
evoked such an interest that during the four 
days of its halt in Mumbai Central Station 
that more than 70,000 visitors turned up. 
Shri P. K. Basu of Nehru Science Centre, 
who was one of the coordinators, described 
it as a unique initiative in popularization of 
science. Live science shows and painting 
competition for visitors below 15 years of 
age were organized by Nehru Science Cen- 
tre. On June 1 the train moved into 
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminal, previously 
known as Victoria Terminus, where Shri S. 
B. Ghosh Dastidar, General Manager of 
Central Railway, opened it for public view- 
ing. Here too the Exhibition attracted al- 
most 1 0,000 visitors daily. Thus in Mumbai 
more than one lakh visitors saw the Exhibi- 

After covering the financial capital of the 
country, the train reached Pune on June 5. 
Shri Rajesh Angale, Additional Divisional 

People viewing exhibits inside Vigyan Rail at Ratnagiri. 

Students viewing various exhibits inside Vigyan Rail at 


Vigyan Rail KJ 

Dignitaries viewing Vigyan Rail exhibits at Pune. 

Railway Manager, opened the Exhibition 
to the public in the presence of Shri Suhas 
Lohekare, PRO of Railways and scientists 
from National Chemical Laboratory, De- 
fence Research and Development 
Organisation, and BSNL. The public re- 
sponse to the Exhibition was overwhelming 
indeed, as evidenced by the long queues 
every day despite the scorching heat. The 
number of visitors during the five days of 
the Exhibition in Pune was around 80,000. 
The eminent scientist, Dr . V asant Gowariker, 
visited the Exhibition and commended the 
efforts put in by Vigyan Prasar and the In- 
dian Railways to take science to the masses. 
He was equally appreciative of the response 
of the people. He noted that working people, 
students and old women with grandchildren 
in tow visited the Exhibition and their curi- 
osity could not be satisfied entirely. Models 
captivated the visitors more than charts and 
written material. To most of the visitors it 
was the first exhibition of its kind to be seen. 
Some of the visitors came from nearby 
towns like Baramati by local train to see the 
exhibits. An event of great scientific signifi- 
cance - Venus Transit - took place on June 
8 when Vigyan Rail was in Pune. 

From Pune the Science Exhibition on 
Wheels arrived in Vadodara in Gujarat in 
the evening of June 10. All roads in Vadodara 
led to the railway station where Shri G. 
Sharma, Additional Divisional Railway 
Manager, and Shri R. D. Meena, Senior 
Divisional Commercial Manager of Rail- 
ways, declared the Exhibition open to the 
public. The Exhibition was quite a hit on the 
very first day and youngsters accompanied 
by their parents and teachers swarmed the 
station to have a glimpse of the exhibits. 
During the five days it was in Vadodara the 

Cotf The Journey K-) 

Exhibition attracted around 50,000 visitors. 
A team of railway scouts and locally re- 
cruited volunteers guided the visitors and 
explained the exhibits to them. 

On June 15 the Science Train arrived in 
Ahmedabad. Shri L. M. Sahori, Divisional 
Railway Manager opened the Exhibition to 
the public by lighting the traditional lamp in 
the presence of a large number of visitors 
and special invitees, including Shri Sanjay 
Agrawal, CEO of Gujarat Council of Sci- 
ence City , which coordinated the 
programme in Ahmedabad. The Exhibition 
attracted the youngsters the most, as could 
be seen from their large presence among the 
visitors and the interest they evinced in 
understanding the exhibits. Around 50,000 
visitors turned up every day during the train’s 
halt in Ahmedabad. 

The next halt was Rajkot where Dr. 
Vallabh Bhai Kathiria, MP, Lok Sabha, de- 
clared the Exhibition open to the public in 
the presence of Shri Rajiv Kumar, Additional 
Divisional Railway Manager, Shri Sanjay 
Kumar Shukla, Assistant Commercial Man- 
ager, and Dr.V. B. Kamble, Director of 
Vigyan Prasar. The wide media coverage in 
advance of its arrival evoked the interest of 
residents from Rajkot and nearby areas to 
throng the Bhaktinagar railway station on 
all the five days of its halt there. The rush 
was such that the Exhibition was kept open 
till late night. In all over four lakh visitors of 
all age groups turned up. Students from 30 0 
schools viewed the exhibits, which were 
explained by 18 volunteers who were lo- 
cally recruited. A team of 50 railway scouts 
regulated the crowd. Busloads of students 
turned up from as far as Jamnagar. The stu- 
dents would start queuing up at 7 in the 
morning to have a glimpse of the Exhibi- 

Shri L. M. Sahori, Divisional Railway Manager cutting the tape 
to open the exhibition at Ahmedabad. 


CH Vigyan Rail t£> 

Visitors - young and old, men and women - lining up on the 
platform at Bhopal to get into Vigyan Rail. 

tion. Many waited for hours in the scorch- 
ing Sun before they could enter. 

From Gujarat the Science Exhibition 
moved to Madhya Pradesh in its cross-coun- 
try journey. It reached Bhopal on June 27, 
one day behind schedule, and was opened 
to the public on the morning of June 28 by 
Shri Devi Prasad Pande, Divisional Rail- 
way Manager. The District Collector Shri 
Anil Shukla had agreed to inaugurate the 
Exhibition but could not do so because of 
the delayed arrival of the train. He how- 
ever issued an appeal through the media to 
all the schools to send their students to the 
Exhibition and, as a result, students, not 
only from Bhopal but also from Indore and 
Bina, turned up in large numbers at the 
Bhopal station to see the exhibits. There 
were around 80,000 visitors of all age 
groups. The Regional Science Centre orga- 
nized a quiz on India’s Science and Technol- 
ogy Heritage and a few other programmes 
during the Exhibition hours. 

Students lining up on the platform to get into the Vigyan Rail 
at Agra. 

The famous Taj Mahal had a competitor 
as a centre of attraction for four days from 
July 4 when the Science Exhibition on 
Wheels showcasing India’s heritage and 
modern day achievements in science and 
technology was berthed in Agra. Dr. G. C. 
Saxena, Vice Chancellor of Dr 
B.R.Ambedkar University, declared the 
Science Exhibition open to the public in the 
presence of a large gathering of visitors and 
special invitees including Shri M. Suresh, 
Divisional Railway Manager, Shri 
Nitishwar Kumar, District Magistrate and 
Dr. Roshan Lai, Chief Medical Officer. 
Around 75,000 visitors turned up to see the 
exhibits. They included not only residents 
of Agra but also from nearby villages. Dr. 
Ashwini Kumar of Regional Science Centre 

The Journey h r ) 


and Dr Ashok Kumar of Dr B.R.A. Univer- 
sity helped in coordinating the arrangements 
at Agra. 

The pink city of Jaipur in Rajasthan, 
known for its historic palaces and monu- 
ments, was the next halt of Vigyan Rail. 
Shri Rakesh Mohan Agarwal, General 
Manager of North Western Railways, 
opened the mobile Science Exhibition for the 
public in the presence of a large gathering 
of visitors and special invitees including 
senior railway officials and Ms Roli Singh, 
Director, Department of Science and Tech- 
nology, Rajasthan Government. Despite the 
scorching heat of summer a turnout of one 
lakh visitors was recorded over the five days 
the Exhibition was in the Gandhinagar 
Railway Station in Jaipur during July 8-12. 
The second platform was overflowing with 
students curious to have a glimpse of the 
exhibits and those who went into the train 
were busy taking down notes and making 
searching inquiries about the exhibits from 
the volunteers. Shri A. K. Bhargava and Shri 
Arvind Sharma of the Department of Sci- 
ence and Technology, Rajasthan Govern- 
ment helped in coordinating the 
arrangements in Jaipur. 

Student visitors looking at one of exhibits at Jaipur. 

Girl students viewing the exhibits in one of coaches at Kota. 

From Jaipur the Vigyan Rail moved to 
Kota where the District Magistrate Shri 
Tanmay Kumar inaugurated the Exhibition 
in the presence of Shri S.K. Sharma Divi- 
sional Railway Manager, and other senior 
officials besides a large number of visitors. 
The Exhibition was in Kota for two days 
and during this period it attracted more than 
50,000 visitors, mostly students who evinced 
keen interest in the exhibits. 

On its next leg, the Vigyan Rail covered 
three other towns of Rajasthan - Ajmer, 
Jodhpur and Bikaner. Locally recruited and 

CX Vigyan Rail 

The Chief Guest, Shri Ashwini Bhagat, Collector (center), 
walking through the Vigyan Rail at Ajmer. 

The Chief Guest Shri Santok Singh, DRM, walking through the 
exhibition in Jodhpur. 

trained volunteers explained the exhibits to 
visitors in local language and a team of 
scouts and RPF personnel regulated the 
crowd in all these three towns. Ajmer is an 
important pilgrim centre and the special 
Science Train was an added attraction for 
three days from July 15. Shri Ashwini 
Bhagat, Collector of Ajmer inaugurated the 
Exhibition in the presence of special invitees 
including Shri Brijesh Gupta, Additional 
DRM and Shri Madan Goel, District Edu- 
cation Officer. Around 500 students were 
present when the exhibition was declared 
open. Almost all the schools in the town 
organized trips for their students to the 
Vigyan Rail. Over 40,000 visitors of all 
groups turned up to view the exhibits. 

From Ajmer the train moved to Jodhpur 
where Shri Santokh Singh, Divisional Rail- 
way Manager, inaugurated the Exhibition 
by cutting the ribbon on J uly 1 8 in the pres- 
ence of a large gathering of school children. 
As in Ajmer, all the schools in Jodhpur and 
nearby places organized visits of their stu- 
dents to the Exhibition. The District Educa- 
tional Officer declared July 22 as holiday 
for schools to enable the students to come to 
see the exhibits. As a result, the number of 
visitors swelled to 70,000 during the five 
days the Exhibition was in Jodhpur. The 
Commissioner of Jodhpur, Shri Atul Sharma, 
visited the Exhibition on July 20 and saw 
the exhibits with keen interest. 

Bikaner was the next scheduled halt but 
due to technical reasons the Vigyan Rail 
was stationed at Lalgarh, five kilometres 
from Bikaner Station. The District Collec- 
tor, Shri Alok, opened the Exhibition for the 
public by cutting the ribbon in the presence 
of special invitees including Shri V. K. Jain, 
Divisional Railway Manager and Shri 

03 The Journey EO 


Ratan Lai, Additional DRM. Around 700 
school children welcomed the invitees with 
a traditional dance at the inaugural func- 
tion. Here too the schools organized trips 
for their students to the Lalgarh Railway 
Station to view the exhibits. A total of 
around 70,000 visitors of all age groups 
visited the exhibition. A non-governmental 
organisation. Bright Y outh Sansthan, orga- 
nized a dance drama on adolescent aware- 
ness on the platform. The entire platform 
wore a festive look. 

From Rajasthan the train moved to Punjab 
where its first halt was Ferozepur. Shri 
Dharam Singh, Divisional Railway Man- 
ager inaugurated the Exhibition on July 27 
in the presence of senior railway and state 
government officers besides a large gather- 
ing of visitors. The Deputy Commissioner 
of Ferozepur, Shri Ranjit Singh, visited the 
Exhibition on July 29. The schools in and 
around Ferozepur arranged for their stu- 
dents to visit the exhibition. The Exhibition 
attracted some 30,000 visitors comprising 
not only students but also common people. 
Media reports described the Exhibition as a 
bridge between common man and science 
for society. 

Amritsar, famous for its Golden Temple, 
had an added attraction for five days dur- 
ing July 31-August 4 when the Science Ex- 
hibition on Wheels arrived there from 
Ferozepur. Dr. S. P. Singh, Vice Chancellor, 
Guru Nanakdev University and Shri M. S. 
Chalia, Senior Divisional Commercial Man- 
ager of Railways, opened the Exhibition for 
the public in the presence of a large number 
of visitors and special invitees, including Dr. 
Daljeet Singh, an eminent eye surgeon of 
Amritsar. Wide media coverage of the sched- 
uled programme of the special train and its 

Vigyan Rail gets a colourful reception at Bikaner with 
Rajasthani women performing a folk dance on the platform at 
the inaugural function. 

A volunteer explaining one of the displays in the ICAR coach 
to student visitors at Ferozepur. 


VigyanRail lO 

Students throng 
the platform waiting 
to enter Vigyan Rail 
at Amritsar. 

inauguration drew over 55,000 visitors to 
the railway station. Students evinced spe- 
cial interest and were eager to know the 
minutest details about the exhibits. 

From Amritsar the train moved to 
Pathankot in the evening of August 5 and 
was opened to the public the following 
morning by Shri Harjeet Singh, Deputy 
Commissioner, Gurdaspur. Among the spe- 
cial invitees at the inaugural function was 
Shri Harminder Singh, Sub Divisional Mag- 
istrate, Pathankot. The District Education 
Officer had instructed the schools to ar- 
range for the visit of their wards to the 
Exhibition. The Deputy Commissioner an- 
nounced an essay competition for students 
on the Vigyan Rail and said that prizes 
would be given to five best essays on the 
following Independence Day. As a result, 
students made a beeline to the station to 
view the exhibits. Around 40,000 visitors 
came to the Exhibition during its four-day 
halt in Pathankot. 

On its last leg before returning to New 
Delhi, the Science Train covered Jalandhar 
and Kurukshetra. At Jalandhar the Exhibi- 
tion was opened to the public by Shri Ashok 
Gupta, Deputy Commissioner in the pres- 
ence of Shri R. R. Badhan, DEO (Second- 
ary), Shri S.S.Atwal, DEO (Primary) and 
Shri Subhash Ghosh, Station Superinten- 
dent, besides a large number of visitors and 
members of Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti. 
The wide media coverage of the scheduled 
programme of Vigyan Rail in the print and 
electronic media led to a huge turnout of 
visitors at the railway station to see the 
exhibits. Students came in large numbers 
thanks to the special efforts taken by the 
District Education Officers in charge of 
primary and secondary schools. During its 

The Journey if > 


five-day halt in Jalandhar nearly 1.5 lakh 
visitors came to see the exhibits despite 
heavy rains. For a small town this was a 
significant number, indicating the interest 
evoked by the Exhibition among the com- 
mon people. Many came from far off places 
like Ramgarh and Adampur. The rush was 
such that one had to wait in queue for at 
least 3 hours before getting into the train to 
see the exhibits but the visitors did not mind 
it. Shri Sanjeevan Didwal was the local 

At Kurukshetra, the famous pilgrim cen- 
tre, Shri Subhash Goyal, Deputy Commis- 
sioner opened the Science Exhibition for the 
public on August 14. As per schedule the 
Exhibition should have been inaugurated 
on August 13 but the train arrived at 
Kurukshetra only on the night of August 1 3 
due to damage to railway track by heavy 
rains. Shri N. Premchand DDO, Shri Attar 
Singh, Station Superintendent and Shri S. 
Kumar of Kurukshetra Panorama and Sci- 
ence Centre were among the special invitees 
present on the occasion. During its two day 
halt in Kurukshetra the Exhibition attracted 
around 20,000 visitors. The Kurukshetra 
Panorama and Science Centre sustained the 
interest of the students by organising draw- 
ing, quiz and other competitions for them at 
the platform. The last day of the halt hap- 
pened to be a holiday on account of Inde- 
pendence Day and the rush of visitors 
increased considerably. 

On August 16 the train returned to its 
base in Safdarjung Railway station in New 
Delhi after covering a total distance of 
15,000 kilometres and halting at 60 rail- 
way stations over a period of eight months, 
showcasing the country’s heritage and 
achievements in the field of science and 

Shri Ashok Gupta, Divisional Commissioner, cutting the tape 
to open the exhibition at Jalandhar. 

Students taking part in a drawing competition in one of the 
coaches at Kurukshetra. 


OS VigyanRail EO 

technology. It was stationed at Safdarjung They commended the efforts put in by all 
Station for five days to give Delhiites one those associated with the journey to pro- 
more opportunity to view the exhibits and mote awareness among the common people 
more than 20,000 visitors availed of this about the contribution of science and tech- 
oooportunity. On August 18 Shri Kapil Sibal, nology to national development and kin- 
Union Minister for Science and Technology dling the interest among the youngsters to 
along with Dr. V. S. Ramamurthy, Secre- take to a career in science and technology, 
tary, to Department of Science and Tech- Shri Sibal noted that the Vigyan Rail was a 
nology, Shri M. V. Kamath, President of resounding success, having attracted 5 mil- 
VigyanPrasar and Dr. V. B. Kamble, Direc- lion visitors, a large number of them stu- 
tor of Vigyan Prasar, visited the Exhibition, dents. 


The success of any venture is determined by 
the public response and media reaction to it. 
Judged from this angle the Vigyan Rail 
Project of the Vigyan Prasar could be re- 
garded a resounding success in making the 
people aware of the nation’s scientific heri- 
tage and achievements on the one hand and 
kindling interest in science among the young- 
sters to encourage them to take up science 
as a career. In a vast country, where the 
majority of the population lives in rural and 
remote areas, the reach of conventional 
methods of communication can only be lim- 
ited. The Vigyan Rail was thought of as an 
effective method to reach the unreached 
because the railway network touched ev- 
ery nook and corner of the country. Going 
by the number of visitors at each of the 60 
stations, where the Vigya Rail halted, and 
the interest evinced by them in the exhibits 
the first-ever attempt to reach out to the 
people through the vast network of Indian 
Railways had undoubtedly been quite 

The Science Exhibition on Wheels at- 
tracted not less than 25,000 visitors at ev- 
ery halt and in some places the figure crossed 
several lakhs. For instance, Bareilly created 
a history of sorts with a record turnout of 
2.5 lakh visitors over a period of three days. 
The schedule was such that the Vigyan Rail 
covered the northern region during winter 

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Science stops at rail station 

Mobile expo hixhlixliis achievements of scientists 


Rashtiya Sahara, 
16 December 

Deccan Chronicle, 

8 April 2004. 


Vigyan Rail to 

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Sakaal, Mumbai, 29 May 2004. 

and the southern region during summer. But 
neither the biting cold in the North nor the 
scorching heat in the South was a deterrent 
for the visitors who waited in serpentine 
queues for long hours braving the weather 
to enter the train and see the exhibits. In all, 
around five million visitors of all ages saw 
the exhibits and had the benefit of knowing 
the achievements of Indian scientists in dif- 
ferent areas of relevance to the socio-eco- 
nomic development of the country. A figure 
of five million out of a total population of 
over one billion may appear insignificant. 
But, considering the vast size of the country 
and the fact that the larger proportion of 
the population lived in remote and inacces- 
sible areas, one could legitimately feel en- 
couraged by the coverage achieved by the 
Vigyan Rail and the overall impact it had 

Vijay Times, Bangalore, 10 May 2004. 

Museum on rail 

Chugging oft on a maiden journey to create awareness 

BatiKAlom todw b.vm* it- - •> • t • 

th-V\..r ll; . , M.ll V > K.. ' 

ath -i •> < l • • • ■ ' ' "k 

Apart from the number, the composition 
of the visitors at every halt brought out the 
interest, which the Exhibition generated 
among different strata of society. Rural folk 
came all the way from their villages to the 
nearest railhead in bullock carts or by the 
local train to see the exhibits. The advance 
publicity given through the electronic and 
print media about the scheduled arrival of 
the Vigyan Rail at the railway station near- 
est to them kindled their interest. Many of 
them may be unlettered but that did not deter 
them from evincing interest in the exhibits. 
They were not content with merely viewing 
the exhibits but were keen to learn from the 
guides what exactly the exhibits sought to 
convey. While they looked at the models of 
defence equipment and spacecraft with 
awe, they learnt from some of the other 
exhibits about the rich bio-diversity pos- 
sessed by our country and the means to 

The Impact fcO 


preserve it. They also became aware of the 
opportunities available for tapping renew- 
able sources to meet their energy needs, en- 
hancing their farm output and preventing 
diseases. In short, they returned home richer 
in knowledge about the contributions of sci- 
ence and technology to the society. 

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Another encouraging aspect was the re- 
sponse that the Vigyan Rail evoked among 
students. One of the main objectives of the 
Exhibition was to kindle among the young- 
sters an interest in science. In recent years 
the number of students getting into the sci- 
ence stream in colleges and pursuing re- 
search as a career had been declining. This 
trend had naturally caused concern. The 
overwhelming response among the younger 
generation to the Science Exhibition on 
Wheels showed that such an effort could 
effectively address this issue. Students far 
outnumbered the rest among the visitors. It 
was not just the number of students who 
visited but the inquisitiveness they exhib- 
ited, which was quite encouraging and 

Another notable aspect was that the stu- 
dents took their visit to the Exhibition seri- 
ously as if it was a part of their studies. 
They did not view it as a picnic. They came 
armed with notebooks and pens, jotted down 
important points from the Exhibits, put 
searching questions to the guides on the 
Exhibits and wrote down the replies. They 
regarded the information as a valuable 
supplement to what they learnt in the class- 
room. The school authorities too recognised 
the educative value of the Vigyan Rail and 
placed the school buses at their disposal to 
transport students to the railhead. In some 
places the authorities declared a holiday for 
educational institutions so that the students 

Patidin, Guwahati, 15 February 2004. 

Amar Ujala, Bareily, 7 January 2004. 

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C53 Vigyan Rail 


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12 February 2004. 

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could visit the Exhibition. In some places 
the teachers planned to conduct a test based 
on the Exhibits and at Pathankot the Deputy 
Commissioner announced an Essay Com- 
petition for students based on the exhibits. 
In Allahabad the Headmaster of one of the 
schools said that one question paper would 
be set on the exhi bits in the school examina- 
tion. All these made the students study the 
exhibits in depth instead of having a cur- 
sory glance at them. Thus, Vigyan Rail of- 
fered a unique opportunity for the students 
and teachers alike, especially in remote 
areas, to keep abreast of the advances that 
had been made in the fields of science and 
technology. This should help the students in 
their higher studies. 

The impact made by the exhibits on the 
young minds could be gauged from the com- 
ments, which some of the student visitors 
made about their visit. In Lucknow one of 
girl students was quite impressed by the 
models of fighter planes and commented that 
the exposition had strengthened her will to 
become a fighter pilot. Another student re- 
marked that the Exhibition had generated a 
lot of self-confidence in him. The exhibits 
on women scientists were quite inspiring 
for some of the girl students. 

Besides the students, their parents also 
evinced keen interest in the exhibits. This is 
quite significant because if the parents are 
convinced of the importance and value of 
S&T they would persuade their wards to 
opt for the science stream and later take to 
research as a career. For most of the parents 
the Exhibition was an eye-opener. They might 
have read in the media periodically about 
the achievements of Indian scientists but it 
was for the first time that they had had the 
opportunity to get a feel of them all in one 

03 The Impact EO 


place. One parent described the exhibits as 
a compact collection of developments in 
science and technology. The exhibits gener- 
ated varied but positive response among the 
visitors. “A thrilling experience”, “enchant- 
ing”, “exhilarating”, “innovative”, “mar- 
vellous”, “educative”, “wonderful” -these 
were some of the epithets used by the visi- 
tors about the exhibits. Some of the visitors 
even went poetic and relied on old sayings 
to describe succinctly what they felt about 
the Science Exhibition. 

“ Yeb Pradarshan to gagar mein sagar 
hai” , commented a visitor. Translated into 
English it meant, “In this Exhibition the 
entire ocean has been accommodated in a 
pitcher”. Another commented, “ Kuankbud 
chalkar pyase ke paas aya hai ”, which 
meant, “The well itself has come to the 
thirsty”. The former comment brought out 
the depth and breadth of information pro- 
vided by the exhibits, while the latter high- 
lighted the way the thirst for knowledge had 
been quenched by the Exhibition. All these 
comments brought out the general impres- 
sion among the visitors that the Vigyan Rail 
had helped them know many things, which 
they had not known earlier. This was ex- 
actly the objective of the Exhibition and the 
visitors’ comments showed that the Exhibi- 
tion had largely achieved its objective. 

Let us now look at the media reaction, 
which is an important index of the success 
of any venture. The media is always re- 
garded as a mirror of public opinion and 
public aspirations. As such the extent of 
media coverage reflected the importance of 
any venture. Judged from this point of view 
also the Vigyan Rail project could be con- 
sidered a success. The eight-month journey 
of the Science Exhibition on Wheels received 

Dainik Bhaskar, 
Bikaner, 26 July 

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wide coverage in both the print and elec- 
tronic media in all the places it halted. Be- 
sides the curtain raiser stories published 
prior to the visit, the media covered daily 
various aspects of the Exhibition and the 
activities connected with it during the halt 
of the Vigyan Rail. The Nagpur station of 
All India Radio had a 30-minute programme 
every evening explaining the Exhibits and 
giving the comments of visitors during the 
halt of Vigyan Rail in the city. The common 
theme running through the media reports 
was that the Vigyan Rail was a repository 
of information and provided a rare and 
unique opportunity to people in far flung 
areas to know about the advances made by 
our country in the field of science and tech- 
nology. The media coverage was quite ex- 
haustive and kindled the interest among the 
general public to view the exhibits. 

Here is a typical comment made by 
Hindustan Times, Lucknow: “If your child 
asks too many questions about science and 
is curious to know why the environment is 
in danger and what is green revolution and 
if you don’t know the answers, don’t get 
disheartened. Just take him to Charbagh 
Railway Station, where an exhibition on 
Vigyan Rail will satisfy the craving for in- 
formation of your child”. The Nagaland 
Post in Dimapur noted that the Vigyan Rail 
could be an eye-opener to those who craved 
to learn more and more about scientific 
achievements and technological advance- 
ment. The Bangalore edition of The Hindu 
described the Vigyan Rail as “a unique 
mission” and noted that its success was due 
to its mobility, which provided connectivity 
to people even in remote areas. The Tribune 
of Chandigarh editorially commented that 
Vigyan Rail was a good initiative to show- 

03 The Impact EO 


case the nation’s achievement in science and 
technology, which had helped to change the 
image of India as a land of snake charmers. 
“There is no doubt that scientific temper is 
needed for the country to progress and that 
spreading awareness and inculcating pride 
in the scientists’ achievements is indeed a 
first step”, TbeTribune Editorial observed. 
In general the media reports on the Vigyan 
Rail were extremely positive. 

It is clear from the reaction of the visitors 
and the reports in media that the Vigyan 
Rail has been extremely successful in bridg- 
ing the gap between science and people. It 
has helped in promoting awareness among 
the people about the contribution of science 
and technology in various fields of immedi- 
ate relevance to the community at large and 
encouraging the younger generation to 
evince interest in science as a career. It was 
no easy task to bring together so many gov- 
ernment agencies under one umbrella for a 
common cause and if the Exhibition was a 
success it was due to the effective coordina- 
tion among all the participating scientific 
departments and organisations. 


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‘Vignan Rail ' arrives in Vizag 

visakhapatnam: ‘Vignan Rail', a science exhibition on 
wheels, arrived here on Tuesday on a five-day visit as part 
of its countrywide joumev. The specially designed train 
carries exhibits, charts, models, hand-on-exhibits. computer 
mediated quiz, video and multi-media, etc., to highlight the 
achievements made by the country in science and 
technology in the last 50 years. 

As many as 12 Government departments are displaying 
their achievements on this show, which was flagged off by 
the Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, in New Delhi on 
December 15 last. 

It is covering the length and breadth of the country 
stopping at 56 stations, including Visakhapatnam, 
Secunderabad and Tirupati in the State. It will return to 
New Delhi on August 16. The Flag Officer Commanding- in- 
Chief of the Eastern Naval Command. O.P. Bansal, declared 
open the exhibition for public at the railway station on 

The East Coast Railway's Divisional Railway Manager 
(Waltair), S.V. Arya, welcomed the gathering. 

The Rag Officer Commanding-In-Chief of the Eastern Naval 
Command, O.P. Bansai. going round the Vignan Rail’ after 
inaugurating It on Tuesday In Visakhapatnam. 

The Divisional Railway Manager of East Coast Railway, 
S.V. Arya is also seen. 

The Hindu, 
24 March 2004. 

Dainik Bhaskar, 
Kota, 14 July 

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Dina Bhumi, Chennai, 17 April 2004. 

Epilogue SO 


The resounding success of the Vigyan Rail 
is indeed a matter of great satisfaction. 
When the idea was mooted everyone felt it 
was a good concept, but being the first ever 
such attempt in the world one could not be 
sure of how it would fare and be received by 
the public. The overwhelming public re- 
sponse only shows that there is thirst for 
knowledge and Vigyan Rail has proved to 
be an ideal method to quench this thirst. But 
there is still a long way to go to achieve the 
goal of promoting scientific temper and cre- 
ating greater awareness about the value of 
S&T among the general public. India is a 
vast country and the Vigyan Rail could 
touch only 60 stations. There are still many 
places left out and for covering them in 
phases the Vigyan Rail should be continued 
with the exhibits updated. 

Apart from covering more railway sta- 
tions the Exhibition should reach out to the 
areas around the railhead. In this context 
Professor V. S. Ramamurthy, Secretary to 
Department of Science and Technology, has 
mooted an idea. In an interview to Frontline 
he suggested that selected exhibits could be 
taken to places surrounding the railhead on 
road because the train route did not cover 
the entire country. “A sort of feeder service 
can help take a scaled-down version of ex- 
hibition to those who could not come to the 
railhead”, he observed. This is worth pur- 

Concluding Function at Delhi Safderjung Railway Station (18 
August 2004). From left, Dr. Vinay B. Ramble, Shri K.K. 
Jaswal, Secretary (DIT), Secretary (DIT), Professor V. S. 
Ramamurthy, Secretary (DST), Shri Kapil Sibal, Minister (S&T 
and Ocean Development), and Shri M. V. Kamath, President, 
Vigyan Prasar Society. Smt. Ramamurthy and Smt. Ramble 
are also seen. 

Meanwhile, the impressive show made 
by Vigyan Rail in its first cross-country run 
has made the Vigyan Prasar President Shri 
M. V. Kamath prescribe a much larger dip- 
lomatic role for Vigyan Rail. In an inter- 
view to Frontline he has mooted the idea of 
sending Vigyan Rail not only to Pakistan 
and Bangladesh but also to some of the 
SAARC countries. “I think it would be a 
wonderful idea for the Vigyan Rail to play 



03 VigyanRail EO 

the role of a peace train to Pakistan”, he 

Thus, the Vigyan Rail has crossed the pilot 
project stage to become a part of the 
programmes of Vigyan Prasar to take sci- 
ence to the people and promote scientific 
temper among the general public. The expe- 
rience in running the Science Train has 
brought out certain lessons, which should 
be addressed in future. One of the lessons 
relates to the schedule of the journey itself. 
In our country the weather conditions vary 
sharply between one region and another. 
Adequate thought should be given while 
drawing up the journey schedule so that the 
visitors are not put to much inconvenience 
due to severe cold or scorching heat. An- 
other lesson relates to the period of halt. In 
most places the period of halt ranged be- 
tween two and five days. This was found 
inadequate especially in the context of the 
overwhelming public response, which the 
Exhibition generated, and the resultant rush. 

Shri Kapil Sibal, Minister (S&T and Ocean Development), 
signing the visitors book. 

Unlike in an exhibition on a sprawling 
ground the space in a train is not enough to 
accommodate too many visitors at any 
given time. As a result the visitors had to 
wait for a long hours in the queue before 
gaining entry into the train. The period of 
halt should be increased. 

Since the space available in a train is lim- 
ited too many working models could not be 
put up. The exhibits by and large had to be 
in the form of panels containing blown-up 
photos, charts, etc. Only a few organisations 
had put up models and these were found to 
attract the visitors more than the other ex- 
hibits. Hence the lesson is that ways and 
means should be explored to put up more 
models in the Exhibition in future. 

One aspect that needs consideration re- 
lates to the number of guides. The educa- 
tional level of most of the visitors is such 
that they cannot on their own understand 
the exhibits, which were highly scientific 
and technical at times. Recognising this the 
participating departments had deployed 
experts to explain the exhibits. In addition, 
the local coordinators recruited volunteers 
from the faculties of local educational insti- 
tutions briefed them aboutthe exhibits and 
trained them in the art of explaining the 
exhibits to the visitors. But it was found 
that the number of such guides was not 
adequate to meet the demand. In future 
phases of Vigyan Rail, this aspect should be 
kept in mind and steps to have adequate 
number of guides and volunteers would need 
to be taken. 

The text on the Panels was either in En- 
glish or in Hindi. This had put the visitors 
who did not know either of these languages 
at a disadvantage. Visitors from rural areas 
knew only their mother tongue and the ru- 

08 Epilogue BO 

ral folk in non-Hindi speaking states found 
it difficult to follow the text in the exhibits 
without assistance from guides who were 
conversant with the local language. In many 
places the visitors wrote that the text should 
be in the local language. Admittedly it is not 
possible to have the exhibits in all the na- 
tional languages listed in the Constitution. 
But thought should be given to exploring 
ways and means of solving this problem. 
Otherwise the basic objective of the Exhibi- 
tion to reach out to the common people may 
not be achieved in full. 

For Vigyan Prasar it was indeed a fruitful 
experience and the success of this venture 
was in no small measure due to the hard and 
devoted work of the representatives of the 
different participating agencies and effec- 
tive coordination by the officials of the 
Railway Ministry. Since the value of the 
Exhibition has been established beyond 
doubt, it would be worthwhile to consider 
the setting up of a permanent organisation 
under the Department of Science and Tech- 
nology to conduct such Science Exhibition 
on Wheels on a continuous basis. 

Shri Kapil Sibal, Minister (S&T and Ocean Development), 
being interviewed by the media at Delhi Safder Jung Railway 



Vigyan Rail 

Participating Ministries/ Departments 

• National Council for Science Museums (NCSM) 

• Ministry of Environment and Forest 

• Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) 

• Department of Information Technology (DIT) 

• Department of Telecommunication (C-DOT, DoT) 

• Ministry of Water Resources and Central Water Commission 

• Department of Ocean Development (DOD) 

• Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) 

• Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) 

• Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources (MNES) 

• Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) 

• Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) 

• Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) 

• Vigyan Prasar (VP) 

• India Meteorological Department(IMD) 

• Survey of India 

• Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) 

• Department of Biotechnology(DBT) 

CH Vigyan Rail bO 


List of Advertisers 

• Indian Oil Corporation 

• Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. 

• Defence Research &c Development Organization 

• Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy 

• Bureau of Indian Standars 

• Borde Security Force 

• Department of Ocean Development 

• Ministry of Health & Family Welfare 

• Life Insurance Corporation of India 

• Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. 


03 Vigyan Rail EO 



Date of Arrival 

Days Halt 


1 . 












4. ■ 



















































New Jalpaigudi (Siliguri) 








































Cuttack 51 ' 






























Vigyan Rail 80 


Date of Arrival 






















05.06.200 4 

































Unscheduled halt 

Halt Station 




Mangalore 51 ' 

Coimbatore North 





Mumbai Central 















































06 Vigyan Rail £T3 

Route Map of Vigyan Rail 






























f 1 










































28 DURG 






03 Vigyan Rail SO 


List of Nodal Officers of Departments/Ministries 
Participating in Vigyan Rail Project 

Sl.No. Department/Ministry 

1. Ministry of Culture 

2. Ministry of Environment 

and Forests 

3. Department of Atomic 


4. Department of Information 

Technology, Ministry of 
Communication and 
Information Technology 

5. Department of 

Ministry of Communication 
and Information Technology 

6. Ministry of Water Resources 

Name & Address 

Shri P.K. Bhaumik 
Dy. Director General 
National Council of Science Museums, 
Block - GN, Sector -V, 

Bidhan Nagar 
Kolkata 700 091 

Shri S.K. Saraswat 

National Museum of Natural History, 
Barakhamba Road, 

New Delhi - 110 001 

Shri S.K. Malhotra 

Public Awareness Division, 
Department of Atomic Energy, 
Anushakti Bhavan, CSM Marg, 
Mumbai 400 039 

Dr. Ram Gopal Gupta 
Scientist ‘F’, 

Deptt. of Information Technology, 
Electronics Niketan, 

CGO Complex, Lodi Road, 

New Delhi - 110 003 

Ms. Taruna Singh 
Sr. Manager, 

C-DOT, Room No. 911, 

9 th Floor, Akbar Bhawan, 

New Delhi 110 021 

Shri Pradeep Kumar 
Superintending Engineer, 

Planning Circle, Central Water 
Commission, Qtr. No. 1065-68 
Type-V, NH-IV, 

Faridabad 121001 


03 Vigyan Rail EO 

7. Department of Ocean 


8. Council for Scientific 

and Industrial Research 

9. Ministry of Defence 

10. Ministry of Non-conventional 
Energy Sources 

11. Ministry of Agriculture 

Shri Rakesh Kumar 
Dy. Secretary, 

Department of Ocean Development, 
Mahasagar Bhavan, 

CGO Complex, Lodi Road, 

New Delhi - 1 10 003 

Shri Daljit S. Bedi 

Unit for Science Dissemination 
Council for Scientific and Industrial 

Anusandhan Bhavan, 

Rafi Marg, New Delhi - 110 001 

Brig. Umang Kapoor 
Director, C-TEC 

Defence Research & Development 

Room No. 112-A, ‘B’ Wing, 

Sena Bhawan 
New Delhi 110 011 

Colonel N.M. Murali/Lt. Col. Thatte 
Joint Director, C-TEC, 


Defence Research & Development 

Room No. 235-B, South Block, 

New Delhi 110 011 

Shri V. Jayachandran 

Ministry of Non-conventional Energy 

CGO Complex, Lodi Road, 

New Delhi - 1 10 003 

Shri Anil K. Sharma 
CP & PRO, 

Indian Council of Agricultural Research 
Krishi Bhawan, 

New Delhi - 110 001 

C# Vigyan Rail 


12. Ministry of Health and 
Family Welfare 

13. Indian Space Research 
Organisation (ISRO) 

14. Vigyan Prasar 

15. Survey of India 

16. India Meteorological 

17. Technology Information, 

Forecasting andAssessment 
Council (TIFAC) 

18. Department of Biotechnology, 
Ministry of Science 
and Technology 

Dr. V.K. Srivastava, 

Dy. Director General, 

Indian Council of Medical Research, 

P B No. 491 1, Ansari Nagar, 

New Delhi - 110 029 

Shri S. Krishnamurthy 

Director, Publication 8c Pubic Relations 

Unit, (ISRO) 

Department of Space, 

Antariskh Bhavan, 

New BEL Road, 

Bangalore - 560 094 

Dr. Subodh Mahanti 
Scientist ‘F’, Vigyan Prasar 
A - 50, NCMRWF Building 
Sector - 62, NOIDA - 201307 (U.P.) 

Dr. M. C. Tiwari, 

Deputy Director, 

Survey of India 
West Block, IV Wing, 

R.K. Puram 
New Delhi 110 066 

Shri J.K. Sharma 

India Meteorological Department 
Lodi Road, 

New Delhi 110 003 

Shri R.K. Gupta 

Technology Information, Forecasting 
andAssessment Council (TIFAC), 
Technology Bhavan, New Mehrauli Road, 
New Delhi 110 016 

Dr. S. Natesh 

Department of Biotechnology, 

CGO Complex, Lodi Road, 

New Delhi - 110 003 


B. S. Padmanabhan 

Vigyan Rail - Science Exhibition on wheels, was a unique concept in bringing India's 
scientific heritage and recent achievements to the doorsteps of the people. The 
Science Exhibition on Wheels, which travelled across the country for about eight 
months, halting at 60 stations, was conceived, formulated and implemented by 
Vigyan Prasar jointly with the Ministry of Railways, and with the active support of the 
Department of Science and Technology. Vigyan Rail was a result of co-operation 
among 18 Departments/ Ministries of Government of India, engaged in different 
aspects of Science and Technology. Displayed in 12 coaches, the exhibits included 
panels depicting India's achievements in the various fields of S&T, working models, 
hands-on activities, and multi-media shows. The exhibition drew huge crowds 
wherever it visited. This profusely illustrated book attempts to present a glimpse of 
the unique Science Exhibition on Wheels and recounts its momentous journey across 
the length and breadth of the country. 

ISBN: 81-7480-093-X 

Price: Rs. 250 

Vigyan Prasar 

A-50, Institutional Area, Sector 62, 
Noida 201 307